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George Stevens

George Stevens

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Also Known As: Died: March 8, 1975
Born: December 18, 1904 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Oakland, California, USA Profession: director, actor, producer, assistant cameraman, cameraman

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Leading Hollywood craftsman, responsible for some fine films of the 1930s and 40s, but whose later output tended toward the over-ambitious and excessive. The son of performers, Stevens entered films at age 17 as a cameraman and later worked for the Hal Roach company, where he directed his first shorts. He joined RKO in 1934 and proceeded to churn out a series of crafty comedies and light musicals, scoring his first major success with "Alice Adams" (1935), which was followed by the Astaire-Rogers classic "Swing Time" (1936), the action-packed "Gunga Din" and the brilliantly realized debut pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, "Woman of the Year" (1941). After heading the Army Signal Corps Special Motion Picture Unit during WWII, Stevens re-entered civilian life in 1945 and hit his peak with "I Remember Mama" (1948) and "A Place in the Sun" (1951). His subsequent work, including "Shane" (1953) and "Giant" (1956), strove for epic status but came off as overblown and excessive. Stevens's final effort, "The Only Game in Town" (1970), was a refreshing, if flawed, return to his earlier, more modest, style. Son George Stevens, Jr., is a producer who made a well-received documentary on his father,...

Leading Hollywood craftsman, responsible for some fine films of the 1930s and 40s, but whose later output tended toward the over-ambitious and excessive.

The son of performers, Stevens entered films at age 17 as a cameraman and later worked for the Hal Roach company, where he directed his first shorts. He joined RKO in 1934 and proceeded to churn out a series of crafty comedies and light musicals, scoring his first major success with "Alice Adams" (1935), which was followed by the Astaire-Rogers classic "Swing Time" (1936), the action-packed "Gunga Din" and the brilliantly realized debut pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, "Woman of the Year" (1941).

After heading the Army Signal Corps Special Motion Picture Unit during WWII, Stevens re-entered civilian life in 1945 and hit his peak with "I Remember Mama" (1948) and "A Place in the Sun" (1951). His subsequent work, including "Shane" (1953) and "Giant" (1956), strove for epic status but came off as overblown and excessive. Stevens's final effort, "The Only Game in Town" (1970), was a refreshing, if flawed, return to his earlier, more modest, style.

Son George Stevens, Jr., is a producer who made a well-received documentary on his father, "George Stevens, Filmmaker" (1984), served as chief of the United States Information Service's motion picture division from 1962-67 and was named the first head of the American Film Institute in 1977.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  The Only Game in Town (1970) Director
2.
3.
  The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) Director
4.
  Giant (1956) Director
5.
  The Eddie Cantor Story (1954) Director
6.
  Shane (1953) Director
7.
  Something to Live For (1952) Director
8.
  A Place in the Sun (1951) Director
9.
  On Our Merry Way (1948) Director
10.
  I Remember Mama (1948) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1909:
First appearance on stage at Alcazar Theater in San Francisco in "Sappho"
1920:
Became actor and stage manager for father's theatrical company
1921:
Moved to Hollywood; began working as assistant and second cameraman
1924:
First film as cameraman, "The White Sheep"
1927:
Joined Hal Roach as cameraman and scriptwriter for Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and Harry Langdon comedy shorts
:
Directed first two-reel comedies for Roach
1930:
First film as director, "Ladies Past"
1932:
Directed shorts for Universal and RKO
1933:
Directed first feature film, "The Cohens and the Kellys in Trouble"
1938:
Producing debut, "Vivacious Lady"
1943:
Joined US Army Signal Corps and became head of Special Motion Pictures Unit
1945:
Formed Liberty Films with William Wyler, Frank Capra and Samuel J. Briskin
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Notes

Awarded a citation from General Eisenhower for filming such important war events as D-Day and the freeing of inmates at Dachau (1945)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Joan Stevens. Divorced.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Landers Stevens. Actor. Became film actor in 1921; appeared in some of his son's films.
mother:
Georgia Cooper-Stevens.
uncle:
Ashton Stevens. Drama critic.
son:
George Stevens Jr. Filmmaker, educator. Mother Joan Stevens; chief of USIA's motion picture service (1962-67).
grandson:
Michael Stevens. Director. Born c. 1966.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"George Stevens: An American Romantic" Garland Publishing

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