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Overview for John Houseman
John Houseman

John Houseman


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Also Known As: Died: October 31, 1988
Born: September 22, 1902 Cause of Death: spinal cancer
Birth Place: Romania Profession: Cast ...


At 18, won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, but his mother insisted he follow the career of his father as a grain merchant (date approximate)
At 21, went to Argentina as an agent of his father's grain business and two years later (in 1924) arrived in the USA on a similar mission; resident status not regularized until his admisssion as a legal immigrant in 1936
Began writing for magazines and translating plays for the stage from French and German
Grain business failed during the Depression
Directed Virgil Thomson's opera "Four Saints in Three Acts" with a libretto by Gertrude Stein; scored a hit on Broadway
Formed the WPA's Negro Theater Project with Orson Welles; company produced the noteworthy 'Voodoo' "Macbeth"
Established (with Welles) the Classical Theater (also known as Federal Theater Project 891), which folded after their controversial production of Marc Blitzstein's proletarian musical "The Cradle Will Rock"
Co-founded Mercury Theater with Orson Welles; reportedly fell out over script credits for "Citizen Kane" (1941)
Produced and acted in Welles' "Too Much Johnson", a feature film never released theatrically
Collaborated with Welles and Howard Koch on the radio production of "War of the Worlds" that panicked the nation on Halloween night; died on the 50th anniversary of the radio broadcast
Did uncredited work on the script for Welles' landmark "Citizen Kane"
Directed West Coast stage version of Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie", starring Ingrid Bergman
Briefly served as vice president of David O. Selznick Productions
Quit his post with Selznick after bombing of Pearl Harbor to become chief of the overseas radio division of the Office of War Information (OWI)
Did uncredited work on screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's "Saboteur"
First screenplay credit, "Jane Eyre", directed by Robert Stevenson, starring Welles and Joan Fontaine
Worked with director John Berry (an old Mercury Theater protege who had acted with him in "Too Much Johnson") on two movies, "Miss Susie Slagle's" (as associate producer) and "Tuesday in November" (as producer)
Produced George Marshall's "The Blue Dahlia"
Directed world stage premiere of Bertolt Brecht's "Galileo", starring Charles Laughton
First association with director Nicholas Ray as producer of "They Live By Night"
Produced Max Ophuls' "Letter to an Unknown Woman"
Reteamed with Ray as producer of "On Dangerous Ground"
First association with director Vincente Minnelli as producer of "The Bad and the Beautiful", starring Kirk Douglas
Received Best Picture Oscar nomination as producer of Joseph L Mankiewicz's "Julius Caesar"
Produced Robert Wise's "Executive Suite"; Wise had worked as an editor on "Citizen Kane"
Reteamed with Minnelli and Douglas, producing "Lust For Life"
Served as Artisitc director of the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut
Acted in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's "Night Ambush"
Created the short-lived cultural program, "The Seven Lively Arts" (CBS)
Produced for CBS' "Playhouse 90"; first affiliation with director John Frankenheimer
Was artistic director of the Professional Theater Group of the University of California at Los Angeles (which later evolved into the widely respected Mark Taper Forum company)
Produced Frankenheimer's feature "All Fall Down"
Fourth and last collaboration with Minnelli as producer of "Two Weeks in Another Town"; third picture with Douglas
Produced and wrote screenplay for Benjamin Jackson's "Voyage to America"
Portrayed Admiral Barnswell in Frankenheimer's "Seven Days in May"; fourth and last picture with Douglas
Established the Drama Division of NYC's Juilliard School; served as artistic director until 1976
With Margot Harley, co-founded The Acting Company, a touring repertory group staffed mostly by Juilliard graduates (first company included future stars Kevin Kline, David Ogden Stiers and Patti LuPone); was artistic director until 1986
Won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role as the imperious law school instructor Professor Kingsfield in "The Paper Chase"; hired for part by former UCLA assistant James Bridges
Acted in "Rollerball" and "Three Days of the Condor"
Portrayed Winston Churchill in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "Truman at Potsdam" (NBC)
Reprised Professor Kingsfield for "The Paper Chase" (CBS) TV series; although praised by critics, its lack of a competetive audience led to its cancellation; PBS aired reruns for several years
Executive produced and acted in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "Gideon's Trumpet" (CBS)
Hosted the syndicated "Tales of the Unexpected"
Directed The Acting Company revival of "The Cradle Will Rock", starring LuPone
Played Aaron Jastrow in the acclaimed ABC miniseries "The Winds of War"
Showtime revived "The Paper Chase" (as "The Paper Chase: Second Year" and later "The Paper Chase: Third Year"), so that from premiere to show's final demise, it had taken Hart (James Stephens) eight years to complete his three-year law degree
Was commercial pitchman for the investment firm of Smith, Barney
The John Houseman Theatre dedicated on NYC's 'Theater Row' (42nd Street)
Rounding out feature career, portrayed Marion's Father in Woody Allen's "Another Woman" and Mr. Vogel in "Bright Lights, Big City"; also played himself in "The Naked Gun--From the Files of the Police Squad!" and Richard Donner's "Scrooged"
Portrayed Sir Geoffrey Allison in "James Clavell's Noble House" and General Winfield Scott in "Gore Vidal's Lincoln" (both NBC miniseries)

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