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Arthur Hiller

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Also Known As: Alan Smithee Died:
Born: November 22, 1923 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Edmonton, Alberta, CA Profession: director, producer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Canadian-born director Arthur Hiller began in radio and, after a brief stint helming TV on his home shores, moved to the USA where he quickly established himself directing both live and film series like "Playhouse 90", "Gunsmoke" and "Naked City", for which he received a 1962 Emmy nomination. He made an auspicious feature debut at the helm of the teen flick, "The Careless Years" (1957), starring Dean Stockwell, but did not return to the big screen until 1963 ("Miracle of the White Stallions" and "The Wheeler Dealers"). Although he has worked in a variety of genres, from the dramatic ("The Man in the Glass Booth" 1974) to the romantic ("Love Story" 1970), Hiller has shown his greatest facility with light comedy, working equally well with writers like Neil Simon ("The Out-of-Towners" 1970, "Plaza Suite" 1971), Andrew Bergman ("The In-Laws" 1979), Israel Horowitz ("Author! Author!" 1982) and Leslie Dixon ("Outrageous Fortune" 1987). However, two of his best movies, the unjustly neglected "The Americanization of Emily" (1964) and the bleak satire "The Hospital" (1971), both scripted by Paddy Chayefsky, were notably dark films. No Hiller film did better at the box office than "Love Story", which is a...

Canadian-born director Arthur Hiller began in radio and, after a brief stint helming TV on his home shores, moved to the USA where he quickly established himself directing both live and film series like "Playhouse 90", "Gunsmoke" and "Naked City", for which he received a 1962 Emmy nomination. He made an auspicious feature debut at the helm of the teen flick, "The Careless Years" (1957), starring Dean Stockwell, but did not return to the big screen until 1963 ("Miracle of the White Stallions" and "The Wheeler Dealers"). Although he has worked in a variety of genres, from the dramatic ("The Man in the Glass Booth" 1974) to the romantic ("Love Story" 1970), Hiller has shown his greatest facility with light comedy, working equally well with writers like Neil Simon ("The Out-of-Towners" 1970, "Plaza Suite" 1971), Andrew Bergman ("The In-Laws" 1979), Israel Horowitz ("Author! Author!" 1982) and Leslie Dixon ("Outrageous Fortune" 1987). However, two of his best movies, the unjustly neglected "The Americanization of Emily" (1964) and the bleak satire "The Hospital" (1971), both scripted by Paddy Chayefsky, were notably dark films.

No Hiller film did better at the box office than "Love Story", which is a perfect example of being in the right place at the right time. Capably directed, "Love Story" had little to distinguish it beyond its surface gloss. In fact this may be said of much of Hiller's work, though tagging it as "non-descript" may do the director disservice. Hiller gets his movies done on time, on budget, and at their best, they are fast-paced engaging affairs, but since the misfires have multiplied in later years (e.g., "Making Love" 1982, "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" 1989, "Married to It" 1991), one has to admit he has not lived up to his early promise, failing to grow beyond a yeomanly TV-like efficiency. Not only was life imitating art when he took his name off "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn" (1997), but the fight over artistic control with writer Joe Eszterhas also recalled "The Man in the Glass Booth" when writer Robert Shaw removed his name from that film protesting the finished Hiller product. He served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1993 to 1997.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1997) Director
3.
  Carpool (1996) Director
4.
  Babe, The (1992) Director
5.
  Married To It (1991) Director
6.
  Taking Care of Business (1990) Director
7.
8.
  Outrageous Fortune (1987) Director
9.
  Lonely Guy, The (1984) Director
10.
  Teachers (1984) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Casting By (2013)
2.
 Lunch (2012)
3.
5.
 I Think I Cannes (1999)
6.
 Out of the Cold (1999)
7.
 Land of the Free, The (1998) Judge
8.
 Merchants of Venus (1997) Reverend Philips
9.
 Pitch, The (1996) Himself
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1942:
Served in Royal Canadian Air Force
:
Began career in Canadian radio
1954:
Started directing for CBC-Television
:
Moved to USA and began directing live and film TV series like "Playhouse 90", "Gunsmoke" and "Naked City"
1957:
First feature film, "The Careless Years"
:
Switched to feature films for good in the early 1960s
1964:
First collaboration with Paddy Chayefsky, directing his script, "The Americanization of Emily"
1970:
Scored big hit with straightforward film adaptation of Erich Segal's novel "Love Story"; earned Best Director Academy Award nomination
1971:
Reunited with Chayefsky, directing "The Hospital"
1974:
Picked up co-producing credit on "The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder" (also directed)
1979:
Directed and co-produced "The In-Laws"
1984:
Produced and directed "The Lonely Guy", starring Steve Martin and Charles Grodin
1987:
Helmed "Outrageous Fortune", starring Bette Midler and Shelley Long
1992:
Tackled baseball legend, directing "The Babe", a biopic of George Herman 'Babe' Ruth
:
Served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
1997:
Life imitated art when Hiller took his name off "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn"; director's credit going to Alan Smithee
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Alberta: Edmonton , Alberta -
University of British Columbia: Vancouver , British Columbia -
University of Toronto: Toronto , Ontario - 1947
University of Toronto: Toronto , Ontario - 1950

Notes

"Most startling of these gags, however, is an end-credits shot of Eszterhas and Arthur Hiller having a meal, with the latter asking the scribe, 'Why would you want me to direct?' We don't hear Eszterhas' answer." --from DAILY VARIETY review of "An Alan Smithee film: Burn, Hollywood Burn", October 3, 1997

Received honorary degree (L.H.D.) from London Institute of Applied Research in 1973

Received honorary degree from University of Toronto in 1995.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Gwen Hiller. Married on February 14, 1948.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Harry Hiller.
mother:
Rose Hiller.
son:
Henryk Hiller.
daughter:
Erica Hiller. Associate producer. Associate producer of father's "Married To It" (1991); married sound mixer Kevin Carpenter in July 1999.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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