Joshua Logan


Director
Joshua Logan

About

Also Known As
Joshua Lockwood Logan Iii, Josh Logan
Birth Place
Texarkana, Texas, USA
Born
October 05, 1908
Died
July 12, 1988
Cause of Death
Supranuclear Palsy

Biography

Primarily a man of the theater, Joshua Logan fashioned a brilliant career as a writer, producer and director and was that uncommon phenomenon, the theatrical director whose success extended into films. He was also notable for his candor in discussing manic depression, a condition for which he required hospitalization on two occasions before discovering he could control it with the drug l...

Family & Companions

Barbara O'Neil
Wife
Actor. Married June 18, 1940; divorced.
Nedda Harrigan
Wife
Actor. Born 1900; died 1989; daughter of vaudevillian Ned Harrigan.

Bibliography

"Movie Stars, Real People and Me"
Joshua Logan, Delacorte (1978)
"Josh, My Up and Down, In and Out Life"
Joshua Logan, Delacorte (1976)

Biography

Primarily a man of the theater, Joshua Logan fashioned a brilliant career as a writer, producer and director and was that uncommon phenomenon, the theatrical director whose success extended into films. He was also notable for his candor in discussing manic depression, a condition for which he required hospitalization on two occasions before discovering he could control it with the drug lithium carbonate. When discussing his illness, he made it quite clear that its manic phase contributed to his creativity: "Without my illness . . . I would have missed the sharpest, rarest and, yes, the sweetest moments of my existence."

Logan entered Princeton University in 1927 because of its Triangle Club that toured the country and became its president during his senior year. He co-wrote and acted in the annual university reviews from 1928-30 but did not graduate, leaving instead to study on scholarship with Stanislavsky and the Moscow Arts Theatre. During his collegiate days, he co-founded with Bretaigne Windust the University Players, a summer stock group (in Cape Cod) that would launch the careers of Henry Fonda, Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart.

On his return from Moscow, he joined the University Players for a repertory season in Baltimore, directing "Mary Rose" and "Lysistrata," and made his Broadway acting debut as Mart Strong in their disastrous "Carry Nation" (1932), which led to the company's disbanding. Beginning as a sixth assistant stage manager on Broadway's "She Loves Me Not" (1933), he rose rapidly to first assistant stage manager on various productions before making his Broadway directorial debut with "To See Ourselves" (1935). Following two separate stints as a Hollywood dialogue director sandwiched around a NYC performance in a revival of "What Price Glory?," he entered a period of prolific output that would lead to a nervous breakdown in 1940.

His first real recognition came in 1938 prior to his hospitalization for his direction of "On Borrowed Time" and "I Married an Angel," the latter beginning his association with Richard Rodgers. After serving as a public relations and intelligence officer in World War II, he directed "Annie Get Your Gun" (1946) and for the next fifteen years enjoyed his greatest success. "Mister Roberts" (1948) brought him two Tony awards for Best Play and Best Authors, which he shared with co-writer Thomas Heggen, and he garnered perhaps his greatest acclaim for "South Pacific" (1950), though the experience was not without its bitter moments. THE NEW YORK TIMES initially omitted him as co-author in their early rave reviews, and the Pulitzer Prize committee repeated the mistake by awarding the coveted prize for drama in 1950 to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II only before correcting their error.

In connection with "South Pacific," he also won the Tony for Best Director (1950) and shared both a New York Drama Critics Award for Best Musical (1948/49) and a Tony for Best Producers/Musical (1950). He received another Tony as Best Director of "Picnic" (1953) and a Golden Globe Award as Best Director (1955) for bringing the Inge play to life on screen. Though he coaxed the very best out of Marilyn Monroe in "Bus Stop" (1956), scored big with "Sayonara" (1957) and presented a good comedy in "Tall Story" (1960), he was less successful in his direction of movie musicals. "South Pacific" (1958), "Camelot" (1967) and "Paint Your Wagon" (1969), dismal, inert versions of great stage shows, are so depressing that they offer an oblique reminder that Logan was, at the other end of his mania, a famous depressive.

Life Events

1916

Saw first professional play, "Everywoman", in Shreveport, LA; a case of "love at first sight" (date approximate)

1926

Saw first Broadway play, "What Price Glory?"

1927

Entered Princeton University; became president of Triangle Theatre Club in senior year

1928

With Bretaigne Windust, co-founded the University Players, an intercollegiate summer stock company (in Cape Cod) whose members included Henry Fonda, Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart

1931

Won scholarship to study with Stanislavski at Moscow Arts Theatre

1931

Returned from Russia and joined University Players for repertory season in Baltimore; directed "Mary Rose" and "Lysistrata"

1932

Broadway debut as actor in role of Mart Strong in University Player's "Carry Nation" at Biltmore Theatre; a financial disaster, it led to company's disbandment

1933

Acted in Broadway production "I Was Waiting for You", directed by Windust

1933

Was sixth assistant stage manager on Broadway's "She Loves Me Not"; rapidly rose to first assistant stage manager on various productions

1935

Broadway debut as director, "To See Ourselves"

1936

Went to Hollywood as dialogue director under contract to David O Selznick

1936

Returned to New York and acted in revival of "What Price Glory?"

1936

Returned to Hollywood as dialogue director at the urging of Charles Boyer; signed to a contract by Walter Wanger

1937

Wanger contract not renewed

1937

Co-directed with Arthur Ripley the film "I Met My Love Again"

1938

Directed "On Borrowed Time" which ran for more than a year at Broadway's Longacre Theatre

1938

Followed initial Broadway success with direction of the Rodgers and Hart hit "I Married an Angel"

1939

Married actress Barbara O'Neil; divorced in 1940

1940

Suffered first nervous breakdown, hospitalized for nearly a year

1942

Drafted into Army and served as public relations and intelligence officer; provided "additional direction" for Irving Berlin's review "This is the Army"

1945

Married actress Nedda Harrigan

1946

Directed Irving Berlin's "Annie Get Your Gun" on Broadway

1948

Wrote (with Thomas Heggen) and directed "Mister Roberts"; production staged in London in 1950

1949

Was co-author, co-producer and director of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific"; won Pulitzer Prize

1952

Salvaged the musical "Wish You Were Here" which he had co-authored, co-produced and directed by writing 54 pages of new material after its undistinguished opening; by the ninth performance, it was a new show that would sell out and remain so for two years

1953

Second breakdown required hospitalization

1953

Directed Broadway production of William Inge's "Picnic"

1954

Co-authored, co-produced and directed "Fanny"

1955

Directed film version of "Picnic"

1956

Helmed featured adaptation of Inge's "Bus Stop"

1957

Directed "Sayonara"; film earned Oscars for co-stars Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki

1958

Helmed the feature version of the musical "South Pacific"

1960

Directed Jane Fonda in "Tall Story"

1961

Produced and directed film version of stage musical "Fanny"

1964

Directed and produced "Ensign Pulver", a sequel to "Mister Roberts"; also co-wrote screenplay with Peter S Feibleman

1967

Guided Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero in the screen version of the musical "Camelot"

1969

Final feature, "Paint Your Wagon"

1976

Published autobiography "Josh: My Up and Down, In and Out Life"

1978

Published "Movie Stars, Real People and Me", a collection of anecdotes about his life in the theater

Photo Collections

Fanny - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster from Fanny (1961), starring Leslie Caron. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Sayonara - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet movie poster for Sayonara (1957), starring Marlon Brando and Red Buttons. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Mister Roberts (1955) - Disharmony Aboard This Ship Henry Fonda, who won the Tony on Broadway in the same title role, takes a startling, indecent dressing down from James Cagney (the always-nameless “Captain,”), standing up for his crew (Ken Curtis et al) and his right to seek a transfer, in Mister Roberts, 1955, from Joshua Logan’s play, from the book by Thomas Heggen.
Mister Roberts (1955) - Is That Your Battleship? Henry Fonda (title character) joined by Jack Lemmon (in his Best Supporting Actor award-winning role) as scalawag Ensign Pulver, who’s ashore on a ruse, to visit the nurses he and the crew have been ogling with binoculars, met by Betsy Palmer as Lt. Girard and her team, in the “safe area of the Pacific,” April, 1945, in Mister Roberts, 1955.
Mister Roberts (1955) - Preferably Aboard A Destroyer A hefty first scene, from the play by Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan, for the title character (Henry Fonda) discussing his dilemma with wise Doc (William Powell), from Mister Roberts, 1955, in a segment directed by Mervyn LeRoy, who replaced John Ford.
South Pacific (1958) - Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair Mitzi Gaynor as nurse Ensign Nellie Forbush, created in James Michener’s WWII stories, first seen on Broadway (Mary Martin) and given voice by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, directed on stage and screen by Joshua Logan, with a song that was Martin’s idea, shooting in Hawaii, and Rossano Brazzi her subject, in South Pacific, 1958.
South Pacific (1958) - Cockeyed Optimist Not a mistake, the screen turns yellow-gold, in a technique director Joshua Logan disliked but didn't have time to fix, as Ensign Nellie Forbush (Mitzi Gaynor) sings Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cockeyed Optimist" for Emile (Rossano Brazzi) in South Pacific, 1958.
South Pacific (1958) - Nothing Like A Dame! Ray Walston (as "Luther") leads the chorus, with a drop-in by Mitzi Gaynor (as nurse "Nellie") in easily the beefiest number from South Pacific, 1958, Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Nothing Like A Dame."
South Pacific (1958) - Open, Rodgers And Hammerstein Following the overture but to similar effect, the opening credits from Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, 1958, starring Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi, directed by Joshua Logan.
Sayonara (1957) - I Told President Truman Southerner and Air Force pilot Gruver (Marlon Brando), arrived in Japan from Korea, and Marine Captain Bailey (James Garner) have just bonded, observing kabuki dancers especially Hana-Ogi (Miiko Taka), in Joshua Logan's Sayonara, 1957, from James Michener's novel.
Sayonara (1957) - The Air Force Is Not Responsible Airman Kelly (Red Buttons) marries native Japanese Katsumi (Miyoshi Umeki), witnessed by Gruver (Marlon Brando), who had initially disapproved, and officiated by the consul (Harlan Wade) in post-war Japan, in Sayonara, 1957, from James Michener's novel.
Tall Story (1960) - I'm Buttering Him Up Co-ed June Ryder (Jane Fonda) surprises Professors Sullivan and Osman (Ray Walston and Marc Connelly), early in Joshua Logan's Tall Story, 1960, location shooting at Occidental College in LA.
Tall Story (1960) - This Is The Men's Locker Room College hoop star Ray (Anthony Perkins) wraps up his campus cab-driving shift and encounters June (Jane Fonda), who's more interested in romance, during her try-out for pom-pom girl, in Tall Story, 1960, Joshua Logan's film from the Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse play.
Bus Stop (1956) - Ignorant Hillbilly Virgil (Arthur O'Connell) is just arriving at the Blue Dragon, as Cherie (Marilyn Monroe, her first scene) shares her story with waitress friend Vera (Eileen Heckart), in Bus Stop, 1956, Joshua Logan directing, from the William Inge play.

Trailer

Family

Joshua Lockwood Logan Jr
Father
Lumberman. Died c. 1911.
Susan McHenry Nabors
Mother
Married Col. Howard Noble after Logan's father's death of Logan's father.
Howard Noble
Step-Father
Military officer. Achieved rank of colonel; was on staff of Culver Military Academy.
Mary Lee Logan
Sister
Younger.
Marshall Hays Noble
Half-Brother
Thomas Heggen Logan
Son
Musician, composer. Survived him.
Susan Harrigan Logan
Daughter
Mother, Nedda Harrigan Logan; survived him.
Ann Connolly
Step-Daughter
Survived him.

Companions

Barbara O'Neil
Wife
Actor. Married June 18, 1940; divorced.
Nedda Harrigan
Wife
Actor. Born 1900; died 1989; daughter of vaudevillian Ned Harrigan.

Bibliography

"Movie Stars, Real People and Me"
Joshua Logan, Delacorte (1978)
"Josh, My Up and Down, In and Out Life"
Joshua Logan, Delacorte (1976)