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Don Siegel

Don Siegel

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Also Known As: Alan Smithee, Donald Siegel, Donald Siegel Died: April 20, 1991
Born: October 26, 1912 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: director, producer, studio montage department head, assistant film librarian, actor, assistant editor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The montage department at Warner Bros. gave producer-director Don Siegel the necessary tools to impart his signature economical, action-driven style that made films like "Riot on Cell Block 11" (1954), "Invasion of the Body Snatcher" (1955), "The Killers" (1964), "Dirty Harry" (1971) and "Charley Varrick" (1973) such high water marks in the crime and thriller genres. Though Siegel disavowed any notable style, his films were earmarked by their brisk pace, uncompromising violence, and heroes that frequently followed the same moral path as their villains. In doing so, Siegel won as much favor from critics and audiences as antipathy, with "Harry" receiving the lion's share of brickbats over its supposed anti-liberal stance. Siegel's strongest pictures were in collaboration with "Harry" star Clint Eastwood, whose own prominence was boosted by his work with the director in "Coogan's Bluff" (1968) and "Escape from Alcatraz" (1979), among others. Regardless of what side one came down on the Siegel debate, there was no denying that his four-decade career generated some of the most enjoyable and mature crime dramas to come from Hollywood.

The montage department at Warner Bros. gave producer-director Don Siegel the necessary tools to impart his signature economical, action-driven style that made films like "Riot on Cell Block 11" (1954), "Invasion of the Body Snatcher" (1955), "The Killers" (1964), "Dirty Harry" (1971) and "Charley Varrick" (1973) such high water marks in the crime and thriller genres. Though Siegel disavowed any notable style, his films were earmarked by their brisk pace, uncompromising violence, and heroes that frequently followed the same moral path as their villains. In doing so, Siegel won as much favor from critics and audiences as antipathy, with "Harry" receiving the lion's share of brickbats over its supposed anti-liberal stance. Siegel's strongest pictures were in collaboration with "Harry" star Clint Eastwood, whose own prominence was boosted by his work with the director in "Coogan's Bluff" (1968) and "Escape from Alcatraz" (1979), among others. Regardless of what side one came down on the Siegel debate, there was no denying that his four-decade career generated some of the most enjoyable and mature crime dramas to come from Hollywood.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Jinxed! (1982) Director
2.
  Rough Cut (1980) Director
3.
  Escape From Alcatraz (1979) Director
4.
  Telefon (1977) Director
5.
  The Shootist (1976) Director
6.
  Black Windmill, The (1974) Director
7.
  Charley Varrick (1973) Director
8.
  The Beguiled (1971) Director
9.
  Dirty Harry (1971) Director
10.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Into The Night (1985) Embarrassed Man
2.
 Escape From Alcatraz (1979) Doctor
3.
 Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Taxi Driver
4.
 Charley Varrick (1973) Murph
5.
 Play Misty for Me (1971) Murphy
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Acted with RADA in London
1930:
Performed with Hollywood's Contemporary Theatre Group
1933:
Joined Warner Bros. As assistant film librarian (hired by Hal Wallis)
:
Promoted to assistant editor, then head of insert department, Warner Bros.
1939:
Organized and headed Warner Bros. Montage department
:
Worked as second unit director for Michael Curtiz, Raoul Walsh and others and shot transition sequences for "City for Conquest" (1940) and "Blues in the Night" (1941) and compiled montages for "Casablanca", Yankee Doodle Dandy" (both 1942), and "Passage to Marseilles" (1944)
:
Directed several shorts in the early 1940s
1946:
Feature film directorial debut, "The Verdict"
:
Worked in TV as director and producer; shows include "Johnny North" and "The Legend of Jesse James"
1953:
TV directing debut, "The Doctors"
1959:
First film as producer, "Edge of Eternity" (also director and first cameo appearance)
1965:
Directed first TV movie, "The Hanged Man"
1971:
First film as actor only, "Play Misty for Me"
1980:
Subject of a Dutch TV documentary, "Don Siegel--Last of the Independents"
1982:
Suffered a heart attack during the filming of "Jinxed" and his former assistant director on "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" Sam Peckinpah directed some of the film without credit
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Jesus College, University of Cambridge: -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England -

Notes

"I'm a rebel. That's why the young kids like my films. I've been fired from almost every place I've ever worked. I resent authority."--Don Siegel ("New York Times", 1972 interview)

"A movie-industry maverick with an un-Hollywoodlike sympathy for bad guys, Siegel had an important influence on younger filmmakers. Both Sam Peckinpah and John Cassavetes worked for him and absorbed the off-hand, improvisatory style of his movies."--Matthew Flamm ("New York Post" obituary, April 24, 1991)

Siegel's 1964 film "The Killers" was the first movie to be made for the small screen, but was rejected for TV broadcast because of excessive violence and released to theaters instead.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Viveca Lindfors. Actor. Married 1948, divorced 1953; directed by Siegel in "Night Unto Night" and "No Time for Flowers".
wife:
Doe Avedon. Actor. Married 1957, divorced.
wife:
Carol Rydall.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Christopher Donald Siegel. Actor, director. Born August 4, 1952; mother Viveca Lindfors, stepfather, playwright George Tabori; formerly married to actress Judy Geeson.
son:
Nowell Siegel. Adopted with Doe Avedon.
daughter:
Anne Siegel. Adopted with Doe Avedon.
daughter:
Katherine Siegel. Adopted with Doe Avedon.
son:
Jack Siegel. Adopted with Doe Avedon.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Don Siegel, Director"
"A Siegel Film: An Autobiography" Faber and Faber

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