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John Huston

John Huston

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Also Known As: John Marcellus Huston, Maj. John Huston, Capt. John Huston Died: August 28, 1987
Born: August 5, 1906 Cause of Death: complications from emphysema
Birth Place: Nevada, Missouri, USA Profession: director, actor, screenwriter, producer, artist, journalist, boxer, author

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

ctress Zoe Sallis in the 1960s, took over the helm.isfits," Huston opted to cast the fragile, declining actor in "Freud: The Secret Passion" (1962), the director¿s rather off-kilter biography of the famed psychoanalyst. Huston collaborated with French philosopher Jean-Paul Satre on the script, though both men failed to get along, leading Satre to remove his name from the credits. Making his feature debut as an actor, Huston delivered a surprisingly good supporting performance in Otto Preminger¿s religious-themed drama "The Cardinal" (1963), which led to his only acting Academy Award nomination ¿ Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Back in the director¿s chair, he helmed the stylish, but rather thin detective drama "The List of Adrian Messenger" (1963), starring John Merivale and George C. Scott, and featuring a bevy of cameos from the likes of Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis. Huston returned to artistic form with his adaptation of Tennessee Williams¿ drama "The Night of the Iguana" (1964), which starred Richard Burton as the alcoholic defrocked Reverend Shannon, who works as a tour guide in Mexico and attempts various dalliances with three women ¿ a hotel-owning widow (Ava...

ctress Zoe Sallis in the 1960s, took over the helm.isfits," Huston opted to cast the fragile, declining actor in "Freud: The Secret Passion" (1962), the director¿s rather off-kilter biography of the famed psychoanalyst. Huston collaborated with French philosopher Jean-Paul Satre on the script, though both men failed to get along, leading Satre to remove his name from the credits. Making his feature debut as an actor, Huston delivered a surprisingly good supporting performance in Otto Preminger¿s religious-themed drama "The Cardinal" (1963), which led to his only acting Academy Award nomination ¿ Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Back in the director¿s chair, he helmed the stylish, but rather thin detective drama "The List of Adrian Messenger" (1963), starring John Merivale and George C. Scott, and featuring a bevy of cameos from the likes of Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis. Huston returned to artistic form with his adaptation of Tennessee Williams¿ drama "The Night of the Iguana" (1964), which starred Richard Burton as the alcoholic defrocked Reverend Shannon, who works as a tour guide in Mexico and attempts various dalliances with three women ¿ a hotel-owning widow (Ava Gardner), a 17-year-old girl (Sue Lyon) and a chaste artist (Deborah Kerr).

Huston spent a great deal of time making his next picture, "The Bible: In the Beginning" (1966), a massive and often disjointed epic that retold the first 22 chapters of the Book of Genesis. With varying tones and visual styles, Huston sped through the stories of creation, Adam and Eve (Michael Parks and Ulla Bergryd), Cain and Abel (Richard Harris and Franco Nero), the Tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the plight of Abraham (George C. Scott). Even Huston appeared onscreen in a seriocomic rendering of Noah¿s ark, while also voicing the narrator, the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and even God himself. The film was intended as the first of several installments in a franchise, but a poor showing at the box office ended that particular aspiration. Huston next joined four other directors to helm the confusing mishmash parody "Casino Royale" (1967), in which an aging James Bond (David Niven) is called upon to save his agency from being infiltrated by villains. He moved on to direct "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967), a rather bleak drama about a tormented Army officer (Marlon Brando) struggling to hide his latent homosexuality from his wife (Elizabeth Taylor), who carries on with another officer (Brian Keith). The role was originally intended for Montgomery Clift, but was offered to Brando after Clift died from a heart attack in 1966.

Huston suffered more personal tragedy when wife, Enrica Soma, mother of Anjelica, died in an automobile accident in 1969. Meanwhile, he directed the then-inexperienced Anjelica in the costume romance "A Walk with Love and Death" (1969), which many critics castigated as a vanity project for his daughter, though her performance was better than was acknowledged. With his career clearly on a down slope, Huston directed such forgettable pictures as the caper comedy "Sinful Davey" (1969) and the spy thriller "The Kremlin Letter" (1970), while appearing more frequently onscreen with roles in the satirical "Myra Breckinridge" (1970) and the Spaghetti Western "The Deserter" (1971). After directing "The Last Run" (1971) with George C. Scott, Huston returned to form with the sorrowful "Fat City" (1972), a gritty and rather downbeat story of the ebbing fortunes of a washed-up boxer (Stacy Keach) who takes up with an alcoholic outcast (Susan Tyrrell) while raising the hopes of a young boxer on the rise (Jeff Bridges). Despite the movie¿s failure at the box office, largely due to its bleak tone, Huston was welcomed back into the good graces of the critical community. Also that year, he directed "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" (1972), a surreal, loosely-based biography of the infamous self-appointed frontier judge (Paul Newman), who held court in the wastelands of western Texas in the late 19th century.

After helming the misfire spy thriller "The Mackintosh Man" (1973), again starring Paul Newman, Huston appeared onscreen in perhaps his most famous role, playing the charming but despicable Noah Cross in "Chinatown" (1974), whose unspeakable relationship with his emotionally disturbed daughter (Faye Dunaway) leads a nosy private detective (Jack Nicholson) down a slippery slope of murder and deceit. Following a starring role as a villain who frames Charles Bronson in "Breakout" (1975), he directed the epic adventure "The Man Who Would Be King" (1975), adapted from the Rudyard Kipling short story of the same name. Originally planned more than 20 years previously as a vehicle for Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable, the film starred Sean Connery and Michael Caine as two English ex-soldiers who leave British-ruled India to become kings in Afghanistan. Arguably one of his most fully realized quest narratives, "The Man Who Would Be King" earned Huston an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. He accepted roles in a variety of pictures, including the historical epic "The Wind and the Lion" (1975), the hysterically bad Italian horror flick "I Tentacoli" (1977), and the dull supernatural thriller "The Bermuda Triangle" (1978).

Despite his advanced age and increasingly poor health ¿ not to mention the coming and going of his fifth wife, Celeste Shane, whom he latter called a "crocodile" in his autobiography An Open Book (1980) ¿ Huston continued to make a movie almost every year. He next directed "Wise Blood" (1979), a compelling piece of Southern Gothic based on Flannery O'Connor's novel that was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. Following the disastrous horror flick, "Phobia" (1980), Huston directed the compelling World War II thriller "Victory" (1981), which chronicled a daring prison escape by a group of Allies (led by Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone) during a soccer match between the prisoners and Nazi soldiers. He helmed the well-intentioned, but ultimately overproduced musical "Annie" (1982), which went on to become a box office hit despite very mixed critical reviews. After directing the long strange trip "Under the Volcano" (1984), starring Albert Finney, Huston returned to past glory with "Prizzi¿s Honor" (1985), a crime comedy about a Mafia hit man (Jack Nicholson) who falls for his opposite number (Kathleen Turner), only to learn that she is next on his list. Daughter Anjelica Huston delivered a dynamic performance as the hit man¿s spurned lover, earning her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her triumph made the Hustons ¿ Walter, John and Anjelica ¿ the only family to win Oscars in three successive generations.

At this point in his life, Huston was far removed from his beloved Ireland and was residing in beautiful Las Caletas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he engaged in a long romance with his much younger former housekeeper, Maricela Hernandez. His health was also rapidly failing him. He suffered from a long bout with emphysema while also undergoing major heart surgery. But none of this stopped the ever-energetic director who went on to helm another long-held project, "The Dead" (1987), an adaptation of the famous James Joyce short story which he co-wrote with son, Tony. Both elegiac and reflective, "The Dead" starred Anjelica Huston as a married woman forced by her spinster aunts (Helena Carroll and Cathleen Delany) to recount to her husband (Donal McCann) the story behind a long-dead lover who still holds sway over her life. The lyrical drama proved to be a fitting swan song for the director, who died on Aug. 28, 1987 in Middletown, R.I. He was 81. At the time of his death, Huston was preparing for his next film, "Mr. North" (1988), which he wrote and was also going to produce. But when his illnesses finally got the better of him, son Danny Huston, whom he had fathered with a

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  The Dead (1987) Director
2.
  Prizzi's Honor (1985) Director
3.
  Under the Volcano (1984) Director
4.
  Annie (1982) Director
5.
  Phobia (1981) Director
6.
  Victory (1981) Director
7.
  Let There Be Light (1980) Director
8.
  Wise Blood (1979) Director
9.
  Independence (1976) Director
10.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Pele Eterno (2005)
2.
3.
 MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992) (Archival Footage)
5.
 Bacall On Bogart (1988)
6.
 John Huston & The Dubliners (1987) Himself
8.
 50 Years of Action! (1986) Himself
9.
10.
 Momo (1986) Hora
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1909:
Stage acting debut at age three (date approximate)
:
After parents' separated, moved to Texas with mother
1917:
Moved to L.A. for health reasons
:
Became boxer at age 14, won Amateur Lightweight Boxing Championship in California
:
Professional stage acting debut at age 19
:
Moved to Mexico, became calvary officer
1928:
Resigned commission
:
Became reporter with New York <i>Graphic</i>
1929:
Made acting debut with uncredited appearance in "Hell's Heroes"
:
Moved to Hollywood in the early 1930s, debut as screenwriter with Samuel Goldwyn on projects like 1932's "Law and Order", "Murder in the Rue Morgue" and "A House Divided"
1932:
Left Hollywood
1935:
Made contract writer at Warner Bros.
1940:
Earned first Academy Award nomination for contributions to script of "Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet"
1941:
Co-wrote the biopic "Sergeant York"; shared Academy Award nomination for script
1941:
Debut as film director with "The Maltese Falcon"; also scripted; first screen collaboration with Humphrey Bogart; father Walter appeared in small part; received Oscar nomination for screenplay
1942:
Became a lieutenant with Signal Corps
:
Promoted to major
:
Made several documentaries while in the military including "Report From the Aleutians" (1943) and "Let There Be Light" (1945)
1945:
Returned to Hollywood and did uncredited work on the screenplays of "The Killers" and "The Stranger" (both 1946)
1948:
Received Oscars as Best Director and for Best Screenply for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"; father Walter won Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for same film
1950:
Earned dual Oscar nods for writing and directing "The Asphalt Jungle"
1951:
Wrote and directed "The African Queen"; garnered two more Academy Award nominations; star Humphrey Bogart received Best Actor Oscar
1952:
Garnered yet another Oscar nomination for direction of "Moulin Rouge", the biopic of artist Toulouse-Lautrec
1956:
Produced, wrote and directed "Moby Dick", adapted from Herman Melville's classic novel
1957:
Earned Academy Award nomination for contributions to script of "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison"; also directed
1961:
Directed "The Misfits", scripted by Arthur Miller and co-starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift
1962:
Guided Clift through the title role of "Freud"
1963:
Co-starred in "The Cardinal"; received Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor
1964:
Helmed the screen adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana", featuring Ava Gardner, Richard Burton and Deborah Kerr
1966:
Played Noah and provided the voice of God in "The Bible"; also directed
1967:
Produced and directed "Reflections in a Golden Eye"
1969:
Directed daughter Anjelica in the lead of the medieval romance "A Walk With Love and Death"; also acted
1970:
Acted in the camp classic "Myra Breckinridge"
1972:
Directed the superb boxing-themed drama "Fat City"
1974:
Delivered memorable turn as the nasty Noah Cross in "Chinatown"
1975:
Received 13th Academy Award nomination for script of "The Man Who Would Be King", adapted from a Rudyard Kipling story; also directed
1979:
Helmed "Wise Blood", adapted from Flannery O'Connor's novel; also acted the role of Hazel's grandfather
1982:
Directed first screen musical, the overproduced boxoffice disappointment "Annie", based on the hit Broadway musical
1984:
Realized a long-held dream to film "Under the Volcano" with Albert Finney in the lead
1985:
Earned final Oscar nomination for the black comedy "Prizzi's Honor"; daughter Anjelica received the Best Supporting Actress statue for her turn as a Mafia princess
1987:
Directed last film, "The Dead"; daughter Anjelica offered memorable performance; son Tony wrote the screenplay based on the James Joyce story
1988:
Produced and scripted "Mr. North"; had been set to direct but became too ill; son Danny replaced him at the helm
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Smith School of Art: Los Angeles , California -

Notes

"The great screenwriter and director John Huston was also a memorable actor and talker. The rumbling, sonorous grandiloquence, the archly raised chin, the massive gaiety, with its suggestion of tricks or outright fraud--there were elements of a ripe, nineteenth-century theatricality in Huston's impish performances and echoes, as well, of florid, speechifying senators and tent preachers saving souls. Huston was not, apparently a very nice man; Polanski caught him at his most purely malevolent in "Chinatown", playing the wealthy and rapacious Noah Cross. But he was one beautiful charmer."--David Denby in his review of "White Hunter, Black Heart" in New York, October 1, 1990)

Awarded the Legion of Merit for bravery during WWII.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Dorothy Harvey. High school sweetheart; married c. 1928; divorced in 1932; reportedly was an alcoholic.
companion:
Zita Johann. Actor. Had relationship in the 1930s.
wife:
Lesley Black. English; met in 1935; gave birth to stillborn daughter in 1939; divorced.
companion:
Olivia de Havilland. Actor. Had relationship in early 1940s; reunited in the 1950s after her divorce.
companion:
Marietta Tree. Socialite.
wife:
Evelyn Keyes. Actor. Married in 1946 in Las Vegas; divorced in 1950.
wife:
Enrica Soma. Born c. 1930; married from 1950 until her death in an auto accident in 1969; separated in 1962; gave birth to daughter Allegra (fathered by a titled Englishman) during separation; mother of Huston's two oldest children, Tony and Anjelica.
companion:
Suzanne Flon. Actor. Appeared in "Moulin Rouge".
companion:
Zoe Sallis. Actor. Involved in the 1960s; mother of Danny Huston.
wife:
Celeste Shane. Married in 1972; divorced in 1975.
companion:
Maricela Hernandez. Former housekeeper. Met c. 1974 when she was 23 years old; the film "The Dead" was dedicated to her.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
John Marcellus Gore. Died in 1913.
grandmother:
Adelia Gore. Helped to raise Huston.
father:
Walter Huston. Actor. Born on April 6, 1884; married Huston's mother on December 31, 1904; divorced in 1912; later wed to vaudevillian Bayonne Whipple (from 1915 to 1931) and actress Ninette Sunderland (from 1931 until his death); acted in son's directorial debut "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) and later won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948); died on April 7, 1950.
mother:
Rhea Gore. Journalist. Born c. 1881; married Huston's father on December 31, 1904; divorced in 1912.
son:
Tony Huston. Director, screenwriter, former lawyer. Born on April 15, 1950; mother, Enrica Soma; acted in "The List of Adrian Messenger" (1963) and wrote screenplay for "The Dead" (1987).
daughter:
Anjelica Huston. Actor, director. Born on July 8, 1951; mother, Enrica Soma; debut in father's film, "Sinful Davey" (1969) at age 16; later directed by him in the disastrous "A Walk With Love and Death" (1969), "Prizzi's Honor" (1985), for which she earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and "The Dead" (1987).
son:
Danny Huston. Director, actor. Born on May 14, 1962; mother, Zoe Sallis; designed the main title sequence for Huston's "Under the Volcano" (1984), directed father in the 1990 direct-to-video release "Mr Corbett's Ghost" (shot in 1986) and helmed "Mr. North" (1988), produced and scripted by father.
daughter:
Allegra Huston. Producer, former book editor. Daughter of Enrica Soma and a titled Englishman, conceived during Soma's separation from Huston; after Soma's death, Huston raised her as his own child.
son:
Pablo Huston. Adopted.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Fool"
"An Open Book" Alfred A. Knopf
"John Huston's Filmmaking"

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