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|Also Known As:||Francesco Capra,Frank R Capra,Col. Frank Capra,Frank R. Capra,Lt. Col. Frank Capra||Died:||September 3, 1991|
|Born:||May 18, 1897||Cause of Death:||natural causes|
|Birth Place:||Italy||Profession:||Director ... director producer screenwriter propman editor gagwriter janitor lab apprentice salesman|
During the Great Depression, director Frank Capra became America's preeminent filmmaker, leavening despair with his irrepressible optimism of the Everyman triumphing over seemingly insurmountable odds. A true rags-to-riches story himself, Capra rose above his working-class immigrant background to become a comedy writer for vaudeville star Harry Langdon, before turning to directing during the silent era. In 1931, he began his lifelong collaboration with writer Robert Riskin on socially-conscious films like "American Madness" (1932) and "Lady for a Day" (1933), which led to Oscar glory with the classic screwball comedy "It Happened One Night" (1934), the first movie to ever sweep the five major Academy Award categories. Capra then entered a fruitful period with "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936), which he followed with the classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), starring James Stewart, who came to exemplify the director's prototypical idealist. During World War II, Capra made several acclaimed wartime propaganda movies, including "Prelude to War" (1942), which won the Oscar for Best Documentary. Upon returning to Hollywood, he reunited with Stewart on "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), a heartwarming tale that failed at the box office, but later became a perennial holiday classic. The film proved to be Capra's last great achievement, as the director made several underwhelming films over the next two decades before officially retiring and moving out of Hollywood. With a career that celebrated patriotism, idealism and small-town American values, Capra's strength as a filmmaker marked him as a true giant of Hollywood's Golden Age.
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