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Morris Carnovsky

Morris Carnovsky

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Also Known As: Died: September 1, 1992
Born: September 5, 1897 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: actor, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A distinguished American stage actor with a background in Yiddish-language theater, Carnovsky worked with the Theater Guild on Broadway in the 1920s before becoming involved with New York's Group Theater, for whom he originated the roles of Dr. Levine in "Men in White", Jacob in "Awake and Sing!" and Mr. Bonaparte in "Golden Boy". In the late 1930s Carnovsky gravitated to Hollywood, where he began with a memorable turn as author Anatole France in the Oscar-winning "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937) and expounded his anti-fascist views in Lewis Milestone's "Edge of Darkness" (1943) and Herbert Biberman's "The Master Race" (1944). Dignified whether playing heroes or villains, the compact Carnovsky appeared in several fine films of the 40s and 50s including "Cornered" (1945), "Dead Reckoning" (1947), "Thieves Highway" (1949), "Gun Crazy" (1950) and the touching drama, "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" (1945). Shortly after completing a role in Stanley Kramer's "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1950), Carnovsky was called upon to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Refusing to compromise his rights or to vilify colleagues, Carnovsky was blacklisted but, partly thanks to the help of John Houseman,...

A distinguished American stage actor with a background in Yiddish-language theater, Carnovsky worked with the Theater Guild on Broadway in the 1920s before becoming involved with New York's Group Theater, for whom he originated the roles of Dr. Levine in "Men in White", Jacob in "Awake and Sing!" and Mr. Bonaparte in "Golden Boy". In the late 1930s Carnovsky gravitated to Hollywood, where he began with a memorable turn as author Anatole France in the Oscar-winning "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937) and expounded his anti-fascist views in Lewis Milestone's "Edge of Darkness" (1943) and Herbert Biberman's "The Master Race" (1944). Dignified whether playing heroes or villains, the compact Carnovsky appeared in several fine films of the 40s and 50s including "Cornered" (1945), "Dead Reckoning" (1947), "Thieves Highway" (1949), "Gun Crazy" (1950) and the touching drama, "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" (1945).

Shortly after completing a role in Stanley Kramer's "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1950), Carnovsky was called upon to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Refusing to compromise his rights or to vilify colleagues, Carnovsky was blacklisted but, partly thanks to the help of John Houseman, was able to revive his career in live theater. Portraying characters from Shylock to Lear (at the American Shakespeare Festival) and enjoying many of the plums of the classical and contemporary repertory during the next three decades, Carnovsky enjoyed his career peak late in life, though American films of that period were denied a singular talent.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Gambler, The (1974) A R Lowenthal
2.
 A View From the Bridge (1962) Mr. Alfieri
3.
 Cyrano de Bergerac (1951) Le Bret
4.
 The Second Woman (1950) Dr. Hartley
5.
 Gun Crazy (1950) Judge Willoughby
6.
 Western Pacific Agent (1950) Joe Wicken
7.
 Thieves' Highway (1949) Yanko Garcos
8.
 Siren of Atlantis (1949) Le Mesge
9.
 Man-Eater of Kumaon (1948) Ganga Ram
10.
 Saigon (1948) Alex Maris
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Attended St. Louis Yiddish theater productions as a child
1914:
Played Benjamin Disraeli in a high school play
1920:
Professional stage acting debut with the Henry Jewett Players in Boston
:
Moved to New York City
1922:
Broadway debut in "The God of Vengeance"
1924:
Was a member of the Theater Guild's acting company
1929:
Portrayed the title role in Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya"
1931:
Joined the Group Theater
1937:
Moved to Hollywood
1937:
Feature debut as Anatole France in "The Life of Emile Zola"
:
Appeared regularly in films, playing character roles
1951:
Placed on the stand by the House Un-American Activities Committee; refused to name names and was blacklisted
1951:
Last feature film for over a decade, "The Second Woman"
1956:
Brought by the late producer John Housesman to perform at the American Shakespeare Festival Theater in Stratford, Connecticut
1962:
Returned to feature films to act in Sidney Lumet's adaptation of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge"
1974:
Last feature film, Karel Reisz's "The Gambler"
1983:
Final stage performance as Firs in Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut
1984:
Acted in an "American Playhouse" dramatization of part of the life of novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer, "The Cafeteria"
1989:
Appeared on an installment of the PBS series "American Masters" entitled "Broadway Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theatre"
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Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Phoebe Brand. Actor. Married from September 17, 1941 until his death.

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Gertrude Carnovsky. Survived him.
sister:
Deborah Carnovsky. Survived him.
son:
Stephen Carnovsky. Survived him.

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