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Christmas In July DVD The second film from acclaimed writer-director Preston Sturges, this movie stars... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Palm Beach Story DVD Clever dialogue and sly flirtation make "The Palm Beach Story" (1942) a cut... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection... Screenwriter Preston Sturges took the screwball comedies of the 1930's and... more info $59.98was $59.98 Buy Now

The Lady Eve: The Criterion Collection... What happens when a hunter falls in love with her prey? You'll have to watch... more info $39.95was $39.95 Buy Now

Sullivan's Travels: The Criterion... This was only the third film from writer/director Preston Sturges, but it may be... more info $39.95was $39.95 Buy Now

Unfaithfully Yours: The Criterion... Hollywood historians agree that writer-director Preston Sturges took the... more info $29.95was $29.95 Buy Now

Also Known As: Edmund Preston Biden Died: August 6, 1959
Born: August 29, 1898 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: screenwriter, director, playwright, actor, assistant stage manager, lyricist, songwriter, restaurateur, inventor, cosmetics manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Featuring razor-sharp wit and astringent dialogue, writer-director Preston Sturges ranked as one of American cinema's most gifted creative talents. After emerging from the theater world, Sturges almost singlehandedly redefined the screwball comedy as a director, while getting his start as a writer on such varied movies as the adaptation of H.G. Wells' "The Invisible Man" (1932), the time-shifting drama "The Power and the Glory" (1933), the biopic "Diamond Jim" (1935), and the historical drama "If I Were King" (1938). But it was as a director that Sturges left his most indelible mark. Frustrated with his lack of control as a writer, he took the reigns of production to helm such classics as "The Great McGinty" (1940) and "The Lady Eve" (1941). He delved into more satirical waters with "Sullivan's Travels" (1941) and "The Palm Beach Story" (1942), before stumbling over the box office failure of "The Great Moment" (1944). Sturges triumphed again with two more classics, "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944) and "Hail the Conquering Hero" (1944), but once again felt the need for independence after studio meddling. He freed himself from his contract to work independently with millionaire Howard Hughes. But...

Featuring razor-sharp wit and astringent dialogue, writer-director Preston Sturges ranked as one of American cinema's most gifted creative talents. After emerging from the theater world, Sturges almost singlehandedly redefined the screwball comedy as a director, while getting his start as a writer on such varied movies as the adaptation of H.G. Wells' "The Invisible Man" (1932), the time-shifting drama "The Power and the Glory" (1933), the biopic "Diamond Jim" (1935), and the historical drama "If I Were King" (1938). But it was as a director that Sturges left his most indelible mark. Frustrated with his lack of control as a writer, he took the reigns of production to helm such classics as "The Great McGinty" (1940) and "The Lady Eve" (1941). He delved into more satirical waters with "Sullivan's Travels" (1941) and "The Palm Beach Story" (1942), before stumbling over the box office failure of "The Great Moment" (1944). Sturges triumphed again with two more classics, "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944) and "Hail the Conquering Hero" (1944), but once again felt the need for independence after studio meddling. He freed himself from his contract to work independently with millionaire Howard Hughes. But after the failed Harold Lloyd comeback vehicle, With "The Sin of Harold Diddlebock/Mad Wednesday" (1947), Sturges had an irreparable failing out with Hughes. Though he managed a critical success with "Unfaithfully Yours" (1948), his career was all but finished. Despite spending his last years struggling to clamor back on top, Sturges nonetheless remained one of Hollywood's most respected pioneers, particularly with his ability to meld smart, witty comedy with social commentary.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Vendetta (1950) Director
4.
  Unfaithfully Yours (1948) Director
5.
6.
7.
  The Great Moment (1944) Director
8.
9.
  The Palm Beach Story (1942) Director
10.
  Sullivan's Travels (1942) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Paris Holiday (1958) Serge Vitry
2.
 Star Spangled Rhythm (1943) Himself
3.
 Sullivan's Travels (1942) Director on movie set
4.
 Christmas in July (1940) Man at shoeshine stand
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Europe and the USA
1914:
Managed Maison Desti, his mother's cosmetic shop in Deauville, France
1914:
Returned to the USA at the outbreak of WWII
1915:
Managed Maison Desti in NYC
1917:
Served in Air Corps; wrote and drew weekly comic strip "Toot and His Loot" for camp newspaper
1920:
Invented "kiss-proof" lipstick
1927:
Began writing plays after a bout of appendicitis
1928:
First play, "The Guinea Pig" produced in Provincetown, Massachusetts
1929:
"The Guinea Pig" opened to a 16-week run on Broadway in January
1929:
Had success with second play, "Strictly Dishonorable"
1929:
Wrote first screenplays, "The Big Pond" and "Fast and Loose", for Paramount Pictures in Astoria, Queens
1930:
Had flop with play "Recapture"
1932:
Moved to Hollywood to work on script of "The Invisible Man" for Universal in September; studio dropped their option when assigned director disliked his script
1933:
Wrote script for "The Great McGinty"
1934:
Script for "Fanny" written for Universal shelved due to objections of censors
1935:
Founded Sturges Engineering Company, a manufacturer of vibrationless diesel engines
1936:
With Ted Snyder, opens restaurant Snyder's (closed in 1938)
1936:
Signed two-year contract with Paramount
1938:
Loaned to MGM
1939:
Sold rights to "The Great McGinty" to Paramount for $10 in return for studio agreeing to allow him to direct the film
1940:
Film directing debut, "The Great McGinty"; received Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
1940:
Made uncredited acting appearance in "Christmas in July"
1940:
Opened first restaurant, The Players, in L.A.
1941:
"The Lady Eve", starring Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, and "Sullivan's Travels", with Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, released
1942:
Appeared as himself in "Star Spangled Rhythm"
1943:
Ended contract with Paramount
1944:
Earned two Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay in the same year for "Hail the Conquering Hero" and "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek"
1944:
With Howard Hughes, formed California Pictures Corporation (Cal-Pix)
1946:
While filming "Vendetta", Hughes dissolved partnership; replaced as director; Mel Ferrer received final screen credit
1947:
Put under contract by 20th Century-Fox
1955:
Directed last film, "Les Carnets du Major Thompson/The French, They Are a Funny Race"
1950:
Wrote book for the stage musical "Make a Wish", based on his 1934 screenplay "The Good Fairy"
1955:
Directed last film, "Les Carnets du Major Thompson/The French, They Are a Funny Race"
1956:
Last produced screenplay (to date) "The Birds and the Bees"
1958:
Final screen appearance, acted in "Paris Holiday"
1990:
Subject of award-winning documentary "Preston Sturges: Rise & Fall of an American Dreamer" (aired on PBS)
1998:
MGM announced plans to make film from original unproduced screenplay "Mr Big and Littleville"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ecole des Roches: -
La Villa: -
Dr Coulter's Harvard School: Chicago , Illinois - 1905
Lycee Janson de Sailly: - 1907
School of Military Aeronautics: Austin , Texas - 1917

Notes

There is an official website at www.prestonsturges.com

He was the subject of an award-winning 1990 documentary "Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer"

"The underlying cynicism of Sturges is appealing because he keeps wanting to level his people but he can't. He reveals our foolishness, our hypocrisy, our self-involvement, but he does it in a way that says: 'We are all like this. I am one of you.' He connects us by it, as opposed to separating us." --filmmaker Ron Shelton quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 19, 1998

"Sturges wasn't a deep-dish artist; he wasn't really even a satirist--more a playful, inspired manipulator of low comedy, slapstick, verbal irony and, when the occasion arose, the odd cynical joke about social realities." --Terrence Rafferty writing in GQ, August 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Estelle Mudge Godfrey. Married in December 1923; divorced in 1928.
wife:
Eleanor Close Hutton. Married on April 12, 1930; marriage annulled on April 12, 1932.
wife:
Louise Sergeant Tervis. Married on November 7, 1938; separated in April 1946; divorced in November 1947; mother of Sturges' oldest son.
wife:
Anne Margaret Nagle. Lawyer, former actor. Married on August 15, 1951; mother of Sturges' two younger sons.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Edward C Biden. Salesman.
mother:
Mary Estelle Dempsey. Cosmetics shop owner. Born in Quebec, Canada to Irish immigrants; divorced Edward Biden; traveled throughout Europe with Isadora Duncan; remarried several times; died on April 12, 1931.
step-father:
Solomon Sturges. Adopted Sturges in January 1902; divorced from Mary Desti c. 1910.
step-father:
Veley Bey. Cosmetics company owner.
half-brother:
Edward S Biden. Older.
son:
Solomon Sturges IV. Actor. Born on June 25, 1941; mother, Louise Tervis.
son:
Preston Sturges Jr. Screenwriter. Born on February 22, 1953; mother, Anne Nagle.
son:
Thomas Preston Sturges. Music executive. Born on June 22, 1956; mother, Anne Nagle.
granddaughter:
Shannon Sturges. Actor. Daughter of Solomon Sturges.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges"
"Intrepid Laughter: Preston Sturges and the Movies"
"Five Screenplays by Preston Sturges" University of California Press
"Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges"
"Madcap: The Life of Preston Sturges"
"Christmas in July: The Life & Art of Preston Sturges" University of California Press
"Four More Screenplays by Preston Sturges" University of California Press
"Preston Sturges's Vision of America: Critical Analyses of Fourteen Films" McFarland
"Three More Screenplays by Preston Sturges" University of California Press
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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