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John Cromwell

John Cromwell

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Also Known As: Elwood Dagger Cromwell Died: September 26, 1979
Born: December 23, 1888 Cause of Death: pulmonary embolism
Birth Place: Toledo, Ohio, USA Profession: director, producer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Theater success (as actor, director, producer) who went to Hollywood in the late 1920s at the age of 40, and subsequently proved a capable craftsman of polished, occasionally exceptional studio fare, with a gift for eliciting surprisingly solid performances from even mediocre actors.Initially with Paramount, he moved to RKO in 1933, before branching out to work for various producers, most notably the autocratic David O. Selznick. Among Cromwell's better efforts are "Of Human Bondage" (1934), which made Bette Davis a star; the finest version of the swashbuckler "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1937); the slice of Americana, "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" (1940), which owes much of its success to Robert Sherwood's play basis; the WWII homefront tribute, "Since You Went Away" (1944), mostly the vision of producer Selznick; the sensitive, but not overly sentimental, romantic fantasy, "The Enchanted Cottage" (1945); and the visually rewarding "Anna and the King of Siam" (1946), which won Oscars for the cinematographer and production designer.After leaving Selznick in the post-war period, and being blacklisted in the early 1950s, Cromwell brought a grittier, more realistic edge to such later films as "Dead Reckoning"...

Theater success (as actor, director, producer) who went to Hollywood in the late 1920s at the age of 40, and subsequently proved a capable craftsman of polished, occasionally exceptional studio fare, with a gift for eliciting surprisingly solid performances from even mediocre actors.

Initially with Paramount, he moved to RKO in 1933, before branching out to work for various producers, most notably the autocratic David O. Selznick. Among Cromwell's better efforts are "Of Human Bondage" (1934), which made Bette Davis a star; the finest version of the swashbuckler "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1937); the slice of Americana, "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" (1940), which owes much of its success to Robert Sherwood's play basis; the WWII homefront tribute, "Since You Went Away" (1944), mostly the vision of producer Selznick; the sensitive, but not overly sentimental, romantic fantasy, "The Enchanted Cottage" (1945); and the visually rewarding "Anna and the King of Siam" (1946), which won Oscars for the cinematographer and production designer.

After leaving Selznick in the post-war period, and being blacklisted in the early 1950s, Cromwell brought a grittier, more realistic edge to such later films as "Dead Reckoning" (1947); the women's prison expose, "Caged" (1950); and the Marilyn Monroe-like saga, "The Goddess" (1959). He appeared in character parts in Robert Altman's "Three Women" (1977) and as the semi-senile priest in "A Wedding" (1978). Married to actresses Alice Indahl, Marie Goff, Kay Johnson and Ruth Nelson and father of actor James (Jamie) Cromwell.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  A Matter of Morals (1961) Director
2.
  The Scavengers (1959) Director
3.
  The Goddess (1958) Director
4.
  The Racket (1951) Director
5.
  The Company She Keeps (1951) Director
6.
  Caged (1950) Director
7.
  Night Song (1948) Director
8.
  Dead Reckoning (1947) Director
9.
10.
  The Enchanted Cottage (1945) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Wedding, A (1978) Bishop Martin
2.
 3 Women (1977) Pinky'S Father
3.
 Top Secret Affair (1957) Gen. Daniel A. Grimshaw
4.
 Street of Chance (1930) Imbrie
5.
 The Dummy (1929) Walter Babbing
6.
 The Mighty (1929) Mr. Jameison
7.
 The Dance of Life (1929) Doorkeeper
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1906:
Acting debut in "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall"
1907:
Joined Cleveland Stock Company
1908:
Moved to NYC; toured with small theater companies; became actor and stage manager for 12 years with William A. Brady's theatrical company
1910:
Broadway acting debut in Brady's "Baby Mine"
1911:
Directed first stage play for Brady's company
1912:
Appeared on Broadway in "Little Women"; changed name to John Cromwell
1923:
Produced and directed "Tarnished", first of many plays backed as independent theatrical producer
1928:
While appearing in the Los Angeles stage production of "The Racket" (with Edward G. Robinson), signed to featured players contract as actor by Paramount
1929:
Film acting debut in "The Dummy"
1929:
Co-directing debut (with Edward Sutherland), "Close Harmony"
1929:
Solo directing debut (also actor), "The Mighty"
1933:
Began association with David O. Selznick
1936:
Left RKO and joined Selznick's independent production company
1942:
Returned to stage as actor in "Yankee Point"
1951:
Accused of being a Communist and blacklisted in Hollywood; returned again to stage (and won a Tony Award) as Henry Fonda's father in "Point of No Return"
:
Joined Tyrone Guthrie's repertory company with wife Ruth Nelson in early 1960s
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Howe School: - 1901 - 1905

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Alice Indahl. Actor.
wife:
Marie Goff. Actor.
wife:
Kay Johnson. Actor. Was directed by Cromwell in several films, including "Of Human Bondage" (1934) and "A Village Tale" (1935).
wife:
Ruth Nelson. Actor. Married for 33 years; survived him; died on September 12, 1992 at age 87.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

son:
James Cromwell. Actor.

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