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Vincent Sherman

Vincent Sherman

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Also Known As: Abraham Orovitz Died: June 18, 2006
Born: July 16, 1906 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Vienna, Georgia Profession: director, screenwriter, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A working director in Hollywood for more than five decades, and an actor and screenwriter before that, Vincent Sherman has never been designated an "auteur" by cineastes, but he nevertheless directed such Hollywood classics as "Mr. Skeffington" (1945), as well as "The Hard Way" (1942), which won Ida Lupino the New York Film Critics Award, and films starring Paul Newman, Rita Hayworth, and Humphrey Bogart, to name a few. For much of his career, Sherman was typed as a "woman's director", but he not only fought that designation with work in such films as "All Through the Night" (1941), a taut spy drama starring Bogart and Peter Lorre. His tenacity also carried him into several decades of TV work while other directors from the heydays of the studio system could not adapt. Born in Vienna, Georgia, as Abraham (some sources say Abram) Orovitz, Sherman grew up as one of a handful of Jews in a small Southern town. Perhaps this sense of the being the outsider helped spark an interest in the theater. Orovitz headed to New York after college where, renamed Vincent Sherman, he became a stage actor. He made his screen acting debut in William Wyler's "Counsellor-at-Law" (1933). Acting jobs were always character...

A working director in Hollywood for more than five decades, and an actor and screenwriter before that, Vincent Sherman has never been designated an "auteur" by cineastes, but he nevertheless directed such Hollywood classics as "Mr. Skeffington" (1945), as well as "The Hard Way" (1942), which won Ida Lupino the New York Film Critics Award, and films starring Paul Newman, Rita Hayworth, and Humphrey Bogart, to name a few. For much of his career, Sherman was typed as a "woman's director", but he not only fought that designation with work in such films as "All Through the Night" (1941), a taut spy drama starring Bogart and Peter Lorre. His tenacity also carried him into several decades of TV work while other directors from the heydays of the studio system could not adapt. Born in Vienna, Georgia, as Abraham (some sources say Abram) Orovitz, Sherman grew up as one of a handful of Jews in a small Southern town. Perhaps this sense of the being the outsider helped spark an interest in the theater. Orovitz headed to New York after college where, renamed Vincent Sherman, he became a stage actor. He made his screen acting debut in William Wyler's "Counsellor-at-Law" (1933). Acting jobs were always character roles and feeling stifled, he turned to writing. By 1937, Sherman had migrated to Hollywood with a Warner Brothers contract as a screenwriter. He co-wrote "Crime Story" (1938), a follow-up in the "Dead End Kids" series. He got his break as a director in 1939 directing Bogie--still in his second lead villain stage--in "The Return of Dr. X". It was another Bogart vehicle, "All Through the Night", that firmly established the director. Sherman helmed "The Hard Way" with Ida Lupino playing an ambitious woman pushing her sister into a show business career as a ticket to the big city. Based on his work, he was chosen to direct "Mr. Skeffington", in which Bette Davis played a vain woman forced into a marriage of convenience with a wealthy Jewish man (Claude Rains). Errol Flynn was drunk during much of the production of "The New Adventures of Don Juan" (1948), but Sherman made the film work. Sherman directed Ronald Reagan as a Scottish soldier in "The Hasty Heart" (1949), and, according to Sherman's autobiography, the two clashed when Sherman tried to elicit a greater depth of performance from Reagan. Rita Hayworth starred in Sherman's "Affair in Trinidad" (1952), which featured the actress as a cafe singer and reunited her with her "Gilda" co-star Glenn Ford. Sherman directed Paul Newman in the Mainline Philadelphia Sturm und Drang, "The Young Philadelphians" (1959), but with the collapse of the studio system, film offers began to wane. His last film "Young Rebel/Cervantes" (1967) was misguided period drama. But Sherman was not ready to retire, so he moved into TV. In the 60s, he directed episodes of "77 Sunset Strip" and TV pilots. He broke into TV movies in 1977 directing Carroll O'Connor in a remake of "The Last Hurrah" (NBC). Dyan Cannon starred as madam-turned-mayor Sally Stanford in "Lady of the House" (NBC, 1978). In 1980, Sherman directed the Operation Prime Time (syndicated) miniseries "The Dream Merchants", which dealt with Hollywood. Two other of his later TV longforms also dealt with his past: "Bogie" (CBS, 1980) looked at the life of the actor whom Sherman had directed several times at Warner Bros., while "Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess" (CBS, 1983) profiled the actress with whom he had a brief affair. Sherman also reteamed with Glenn Ford on episodes of Ford's series "The Family Holvack" (NBC, 1975). Into the 80s, Sherman was still going strong directing episodes of "Simon & Simon" for CBS. In 1996, he published a memoir, "Studio Affairs: My Life as a Film Director".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Bogie (1980) Director
3.
  Women at West Point (1979) Director
4.
  Last Hurrah, The (1978) Director
5.
  Lady of the House (1978) Director
6.
  The Young Rebel (1969) Director
7.
  A Fever in the Blood (1961) Director
8.
  The Second Time Around (1961) Director
9.
  Ice Palace (1960) Director
10.
  The Hanging Tree (1959) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Forever Hollywood (1999) Himself
2.
 The Crime of Helen Stanley (1934) Karl Williams
3.
 Speed Wings (1934) Mickey [Coin]
4.
 Hell Bent for Love (1934) Johnny Frank
5.
 Girl in Danger (1934) Willie Tolini
6.
 One Is Guilty (1934) William Malcolm
7.
 Midnight Alibi (1934) Black Mike
8.
 Counsellor at Law (1933) Harry Becker
9.
 Complicated Women (2003) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1933:
Made feature film acting debut, "Counsellor-at-Law"
1937:
Went to Hollywood to work for Warner Bros.
1938:
Co-wrote film "Crime School"
1939:
Directed feature "The Return of Dr. X"
1941:
Had first successful feature, "All Through the Night"
1942:
Directed Ida Lupino in her triumphant performance in "The Hard Way"
1943:
First film with Bette Davis, "Old Acquaintance"
1945:
Helmed "Mr. Skeffington", starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains
1949:
Was director of screen version of "The Hasty Heart"
1952:
Directed Rita Hayworth in "Affair in Trinidad"
1959:
Helmed "The Young Philadelphians", featuring Paul Newman
1962:
Began directing for TV with episodes of "77 Sunset Strip" (date approximate)
1967:
Helmed last feature, "Cervantes"
1977:
Directed first TV-movie, "The Last Hurrah" (NBC)
1980:
Helmed the syndicated miniseries, "The Dream Merchants"
1983:
Directed TV-movie based on life of Rita Hayworth
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Oglethorpe University: -

Notes

"I think the actual craft (of filmmaking) has changed. In recent years, since Lucas' 'Star Wars' and Spielberg's 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', I think that the entire business of special effects has improved enormously. One thousand percent. All the things we never thought about or even conceived the possibility of doing, now they can and are doing it." --Vincent Sherman in Moviemaker, September/October 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Hedda Sherman. Died in 1984.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Eric Sherman. Filmmaker, author.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Studio Affairs: My Life as a Film Director" University of Kentucky Press

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