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
Opened own law offices in Los Angeles; soon after, proved unsuccessful and closed down
After trying to sell songs, entered films (with help of friend David Butler); worked as assistant script supervisor to Tod Browning
Directed one sequence in "Outside the Law", helmed by Tod Browning
Isloated feature directing debut, "Society Secrets"
Joined Hal Roach studios, turning out numerous shorts beginning with "Publicity Pays" (1924)
Named vice president in charge of production at Roach
Left Roach to work freelance
Helmed first dramatic film "Wild Company"
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
Guided an all-star cast including Burns and Allen, Charles Ruggles and W C Fields in "Six of a Kind"
Helmed "Belle of the Nineties", written and starring Mae West
Had success with "Ruggles of Red Gap", starring Charles Laughton
Continued with comedies, directing Harold LLoyd in "The Milky Way"
Offered to go off salary to be allowed to film "Make Way for Tomorrow"; when film proved a boxoffice failure, fired by Paramount
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
First film for RKO, "Love Affair", starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne
Injured in a car accident
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
Received second Best Director Oscar for "Going My Way", starring Bing Crosby
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
Helmed the anti-Communist propaganda film "My Son John", with Helen Hayes
Remade "Love Affair" as "An Affair to Remember", teaming Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
Final film, "Satan Never Sleeps"