Raised in Racine, Wisconsin
Worked as bank teller during high school vacations
Enlisted in the US Army; eventually commissioned as a lieutenant
Moved to NYC after a year in the Army to become a banker; worked as parttime newspaper and magazine model and as trainee at National City Bank until he suffered appendicitis and turned to acting during recuperation leave
Professional stage debut in David Belasco's production of "Debarau" in Baltimore; later moved to Broadway
Worked as an extra in films
At suggestion of director John Cromwell, changed name to Fredric March
Joined stock company in Denver where he met Florence Eldridge
Last Broadway appearance for over a decade, "The Devil in the Cheese"
Enjoyed stage success as Barrymoresque actor Tony Cavendish in the Los Angeles production of "The Royal Family"; spotted by a talent scout from Paramount and signed to a contract
Film debut in "The Dummy"
Played a professor who catches the attention of student Clara Bow in "The Wild Party"
Co-starred in the film version of Philip Barry's play "Paris Bound"
Acted in "Sarah and Son"
Reprised role of Tony Cavendish in the film "The Royal Family of Broadway"; garnered first Academy Award nomination
Received first Oscar for title role in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"; tied for award with Wallace Beery ("The Champ")
Starred in the film adaptation of Noel Coward's play "Design for Living"
Portrayed Death in human form in the film "Death Takes a Holiday"
Had title role in "The Affairs of Cellini"
Portrayed Robert Browning to Norma Shearer's Elizabeth Barrett in "The Barretts of Wimpole Street"
Cast as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" and Vronsky to Greta Garbo's "Anna Karenina"
Had title role in "Anthony Adverse"
Portrayed the washed-up, alcoholic actor Norman Maine in the first screen version of "A Star Is Born", opposite Janet Gaynor; received Oscar nomination for Best Actor
Teamed with Carole Lombard in "Nothing Sacred"
Listed as the fifth highest-paid actor in Hollywood (earning nearly $500,000 a year)
Called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee
Returned to Broadway with Florence Eldridge in "Yr. Obedient Husband"; show was quick flop
Appeared in the Oscar-nominated Best Picture "One Foot in Heaven"
Cast a playwright trying to stop his actress-wife from retiring in "Bedtime Story"
Starred opposite Veronica Lake in "I Married a Witch"
Had lead role in the award-winning play "The Skin of Our Teeth" by Thornton Wilder
Played the title role in "The Adventures of Mark Twain"
Received second Academy Award for playing a returning soldier in "The Best Years of Our Lives"
Earned one of the first Tony Awards for Lead Actor in a Play for his work in the Broadway production of "Years Ago"; tied with Jose Ferrer
Starred in "Another Part of the Forest"
Offered the stage role of Willy Loman in the original Broadway production of "Death of a Salesman" but rejected it as being too "grim"; later starred in the 1951 film version
Had title role in "Christopher Columbus"
Acted on Broadway with Florence Eldredge in "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep", "The Autumn Garden" and "An Enemy of the People" (the latter adapted by Arthur Miller)
Earned fifth Academy Award nomination for "Death of a Salesman"
Was "grey-listed" during the 1950s
Played an unscrupulous financial executive in "Executive Suite"
Once again played Tony Cavendish in a CBS TV production of "The Royal Family"
Cast as Scrooge in CBS musical version of "A Christmas Carol"
Co-starred with Eldridge on Broadway in premiere of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night"; won second Tony Award
Played Arthur Winslow in the CBS version of "The Winslow Boy"
Starred opposite Spencer Tracy in the fictionalized version of the Scopes trial, "Inherit the Wind"; played character based on William Jennings Bryan; Eldridge portrayed his wife
Final Broadway role, "Gideon"; nominated for a Tony Award
Appeared as the US President facing a military plot to overthrow the government in "Seven Days in May"
Returned to features in "... tick ... tick ... tick ..."
First diagnosed with cancer; underwent treatment
Last film appearance as Harry Hope in "The Iceman Cometh"