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Leo McCarey

Leo McCarey

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Also Known As: Thomas Leo Mccarey Died: July 5, 1969
Born: October 3, 1898 Cause of Death: emphysema
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, assistant director, supervisor, lawyer, amateur boxer (middleweight)

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

"I was a problem child, and problem children do the seemingly insane because they are trying to find out how to fit into the scheme of things," Leo McCarey once said. Born and raised in Los Angeles, this oldest son of a sports promoter tried his hand at various jobs before finally finding his calling working in the then-fledgling motion picture industry. McCarey attended high school with future filmmakers Tay Garnett and David Butler and briefly had a career as an amateur middleweight boxer. While attending law school at USC, he was involved in a freak elevator accident. Taking the $5,000 he collected in damages, he invested in a copper mine that went bust. After graduating, McCarey worked in a law firm in San Francisco and then opened his own short-lived practice in his hometown. With the failure of his law practice, Leo McCarey turned to vaudeville, writing sketches and songs but that too proved futile. Old friend David Butler interceded and introduced him to Tod Browning. Browning hired him as an assistant and McCarey gradually worked his way up from "script boy" to assistant director. The veteran helmer even allowed him to direct Lon Chaney in one sequence of "Outside the Law" (1921) and was...

"I was a problem child, and problem children do the seemingly insane because they are trying to find out how to fit into the scheme of things," Leo McCarey once said. Born and raised in Los Angeles, this oldest son of a sports promoter tried his hand at various jobs before finally finding his calling working in the then-fledgling motion picture industry. McCarey attended high school with future filmmakers Tay Garnett and David Butler and briefly had a career as an amateur middleweight boxer. While attending law school at USC, he was involved in a freak elevator accident. Taking the $5,000 he collected in damages, he invested in a copper mine that went bust. After graduating, McCarey worked in a law firm in San Francisco and then opened his own short-lived practice in his hometown. With the failure of his law practice, Leo McCarey turned to vaudeville, writing sketches and songs but that too proved futile. Old friend David Butler interceded and introduced him to Tod Browning. Browning hired him as an assistant and McCarey gradually worked his way up from "script boy" to assistant director. The veteran helmer even allowed him to direct Lon Chaney in one sequence of "Outside the Law" (1921) and was instrumental in his hiring to direct Universal's "Society Secrets" (1921). The results were less than stellar, however, and once again McCarey found himself considered a failure.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Satan Never Sleeps (1962) Director
2.
3.
  An Affair to Remember (1957) Director
4.
  My Son John (1952) Director
5.
  Good Sam (1948) Director
6.
  The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) Director
7.
  Going My Way (1944) Director
8.
  Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942) Director
9.
  Love Affair (1939) Director
10.
  Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 The Big Show (1957)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in Los Angeles
:
Fought as amateur middleweight boxer
:
Invested $5000 compensation money (for falling down an elevator shaft) in copper mine; soon after company failed
:
Legal representative for Montana Mining Company
1916:
Opened own law offices in Los Angeles; soon after, proved unsuccessful and closed down
1918:
After trying to sell songs, entered films (with help of friend David Butler); worked as assistant script supervisor to Tod Browning
1921:
Directed one sequence in "Outside the Law", helmed by Tod Browning
1921:
Isloated feature directing debut, "Society Secrets"
1923:
Joined Hal Roach studios, turning out numerous shorts beginning with "Publicity Pays" (1924)
1926:
Named vice president in charge of production at Roach
1929:
Left Roach to work freelance
1930:
Helmed first dramatic film "Wild Company"
1931:
Directed Gloria Swanson in "Indiscreet"; reportedly rewrote the script just ten days before filming
:
Signed with Paramount; first film under new deal, "Duck Soup" (1933), starring the Marx Brothers
1934:
Guided an all-star cast including Burns and Allen, Charles Ruggles and W C Fields in "Six of a Kind"
1934:
Helmed "Belle of the Nineties", written and starring Mae West
1935:
Had success with "Ruggles of Red Gap", starring Charles Laughton
1936:
Continued with comedies, directing Harold LLoyd in "The Milky Way"
1937:
Offered to go off salary to be allowed to film "Make Way for Tomorrow"; when film proved a boxoffice failure, fired by Paramount
1937:
Hired by Columbia for one-shot directing gig; won first Best Director Oscar for the screwball comedy "The Awful Truth", starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant
:
Signed contract with RKO
1939:
First film for RKO, "Love Affair", starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne
1939:
Injured in a car accident
1940:
Due to injuries, served as producer on "My Favorite Wife", reteaming Dunne and Grant
:
Tied up in litigation with Howard Hughes over an aborted film project
1944:
Received second Best Director Oscar for "Going My Way", starring Bing Crosby
1945:
Named "top employee in the country," having earned in one year a salary of $1,113,035
:
Formed Rainbow Productions with Bing Crosby, Hal Roach, Buddy De Sylva and David Butler; served as president; first Rainbow feature, "The Bells of St. Mary's" (1945), a sequel to "Going My Way"; company sold to Paramount in 1951
:
Testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee
1952:
Helmed the anti-Communist propaganda film "My Son John", with Helen Hayes
1957:
Remade "Love Affair" as "An Affair to Remember", teaming Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
1962:
Final film, "Satan Never Sleeps"
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Education

Los Angeles High School: Los Angeles , California -
School of Law, University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Stella Martin. Married in July 1920; high school sweetheart.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Thomas J McCarey. Sports promoter.
mother:
Leona McCarey.
brother:
Ray McCarey. Director. Born in 1904; died in 1948; directed comedy shorts starring Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges.

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