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W. S. Van Dyke

W. S. Van Dyke

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Also Known As: Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke Ii, William S Van Dyke Ii, Woody Van Dyke, Maj. W. S. Van Dyke Ii, W. S. Van Dyke Ii Died: February 5, 1943
Born: March 21, 1890 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Diego, California, USA Profession: director, vaudevillian, assistant director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Van Dyke began his career as an assistant director, notably under D.W. Griffith on "Intolerance" (1916). He took over the direction of "White Shadows of the South Seas" from Robert Flaherty in 1928 and, by the 1930s, had developed into one of MGM's most reliable directors. Van Dyke was a capable craftsman whose nonchalant approach to filming earned him the nickname 'One-Shot Woody'; it also brought him success at the box-office, particularly with the "Thin Man" series, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. His deft touch is evident in films such as "Trader Horn" (1930), "Manhattan Melodrama" (1934), "Sweethearts" and "Marie Antoinette" (both 1938).

Van Dyke began his career as an assistant director, notably under D.W. Griffith on "Intolerance" (1916). He took over the direction of "White Shadows of the South Seas" from Robert Flaherty in 1928 and, by the 1930s, had developed into one of MGM's most reliable directors. Van Dyke was a capable craftsman whose nonchalant approach to filming earned him the nickname 'One-Shot Woody'; it also brought him success at the box-office, particularly with the "Thin Man" series, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. His deft touch is evident in films such as "Trader Horn" (1930), "Manhattan Melodrama" (1934), "Sweethearts" and "Marie Antoinette" (both 1938).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  I Married an Angel (1942) Director
2.
  Cairo (1942) Director
3.
  Rage in Heaven (1941) Director
4.
  I Take This Woman (1940) Director
5.
  New Moon (1940) Director
6.
  I Love You Again (1940) Director
7.
  Bitter Sweet (1940) Director
8.
  It's a Wonderful World (1939) Director
9.
10.
  Another Thin Man (1939) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Eskimo (1934) Inspector White
2.
 Oliver Twist (1916) Charles Dickens
3.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1902:
Made stage debut in "Damon and Pythias" at age three
:
Spent childhood touring and acting with mother; became involved in production when mother formed own company
:
Moved to Seattle to live with grandmother at age 14; worked way through business school as grocery clerk, janitor, waiter, salesman, railroad attendant and express wagon driver
:
Worked as miner, electrician, sailor, vaudevillian, mercenary in Mexico; gold prospector in Alaska; and lumberjack in Washington State, where he met his wife
1907:
Joined mother's company, Laura Winston Players
1915:
With wife, toured with various theater companies until a Pantages tour took them to Los Angeles; became involved with film
1915:
First film job, as assistant director to Charles Brabin on "The Raven"
1915:
Wrote numerous screenplays for directors Lawrence Windom and Arthur Berthelet
1916:
Employed by D.W. Griffith as actor and assistant director on "Intolerance"
:
Served in Marines
1917:
First film as director, "Her Good Name"
1926:
Signed by Thalberg for MGM
1934:
Helmed the classic detective comedy-drama "The Thin Man"
1943:
Last film, "Dragon Seed" (completed by Jack Conway and Harold S Bucquet)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Zina Ashford. Actor. Married c. 1907; divorced in 1920.
wife:
Ruth Mannix. Married in 1935; niece of MGM vice president Eddie Mannix.

Family close complete family listing

father:
W S Van Dyke. Judge. Superior court judge; died nine days before son's birth.
mother:
Laura Winston. Actor. Returned to theater upon husband's death.

Bibliography close complete biography

"W.S. Van Dyke's Journal: White Shadows in the South Seas (1927-28)" Scarecrow Press

Contributions

albatros1 ( 2007-12-12 )

Source: not available

The earthquake sequence in San Francisco is considered one of the best special-effects sequences ever filmed. To help direct, Van Dyke called upon his early mentor, D.W. Griffith, who had fallen on hard times. Van Dyke was also known to hire old-time, out-of-work actors as extras; because of his loyalty he was much beloved and admired in the industry. Van Dyke was known for allowing ad-libbing (that remained in the film) and for coaxing natural performances from his actors. He was often called in to work a few days (or more), uncredited, on a film that was in trouble or had gone over production schedule.

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