George Sidney


Director
George Sidney

About

Birth Place
Long Island City, New York, USA
Born
October 04, 1916
Cause of Death
Succumbing To Complications Of Lymphoma

Biography

The son of a producer and MGM executive, and a mother who was one of the Mooney Sisters in vaudeville, George Sidney worked his way up from messenger boy to director of numerous MGM musical hits--at one point 15 consecutive box office winners. Though his artistry is not as renowned as Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen and Busby Berkeley, Sidney can lay claim to having directed such classi...

Photos & Videos

Kiss Me Kate - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
The Three Musketeers (1948) - Movie Poster
Anchors Aweigh - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Family & Companions

Jane Robinson
Wife
Married 1978 until her death; widow of actor Edward G Robinson.
Corinne Entratter
Wife
Entertainment writer.

Notes

Not to be confused with the character actor of the same name.

Sidney was the 36th member of the Directors Guild of America and served as its president for 16 years (1950-1966).

Biography

The son of a producer and MGM executive, and a mother who was one of the Mooney Sisters in vaudeville, George Sidney worked his way up from messenger boy to director of numerous MGM musical hits--at one point 15 consecutive box office winners. Though his artistry is not as renowned as Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen and Busby Berkeley, Sidney can lay claim to having directed such classic musicals as "Anchors Aweigh" (1945) "The Harvey Girls" (1946), the 1951 remake of "Show Boat" and "Bye Bye Birdie" (1962).

Sidney actually broke into show business as a five-year old, playing sidekick to Tom Mix in the silent film "The Littlest Cowboy" (1921). But he did not pursue acting as a child. Instead, at age 18, Sidney went to work at MGM, first as a messenger boy, then as a sound technician and film editor. Still a teenager, he graduated to directing "Our Gang" comedies, and, at the age of 20, was put in charge of directing all of MGM's screen tests. He was also directing short films, including "Third Dimensional Murder" (1937), which experimented with the 3-D technique (which would later be in vogue during the 1950s), as well as the back to back Oscar-winners "Quicker'n a Wink" (1940) and "Of Pups and Puzzles" (1941).

In 1941, Sidney was handed his first feature film directing assignment, "Free and Easy," a lackluster Robert Cummings vehicle. He went on to direct Esther Williams in her first starring vehicle, "Bathing Beauties" (1944), and helped pioneer the combination of live action and animation in "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), notably in the now classic sequence in which Gene Kelly dances with a cartoon Jerry the Mouse. The animated character was created by the animation team of Joseph Barbera and William Hanna and the film marked the start of a long association between Sidney and the duo which would later include a five-year (1961-66) stint as president of the independent Hanna-Barbera Productions.

Sidney helped to consolidate the stardom of Judy Garland with "The Harvey Girls" (1946) and he had a success with an all-star version of "The Three Musketeers" (1948) Among his other notable features are "Annie Get Your Gun" (1950), with Betty Hutton in the title role, the 1951 color remake of "Show Boat" and "Kiss Me Kate" (1953) which teamed Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel and provided Ann Miller with one of her best screen roles. Late in the 50s, with MGM collapsing with the end of the studio system and lavish musicals a thing of the part, Sidney moved to Columbia as a producer as well as director. He served in both capacities on the middling biopic "Jeanne Eagels" (1957), with a miscast Kim Novak in the title role. He fared better with the screen version of the hit Broadway musical "Bye Bye Birdie" (1962), with Ann-Margret, Janet Leigh and Dick Van Dyke. Sidney's screen directing career ended with the unsuccessful musical "Half of Sixpence" (1968).

Sidney had occasionally worked on the small screen, including producing the 1964 Academy Awards telecast. He earned an Emmy nomination for directing and producing the United Nations-inspired film "Who Has Seen the Wind?" (ABC, 1965), in which the audience follows a refugee family as it seeks to reach America on a steamer. Still alive and nimble long after many of his contemporaries were not, Sidney participated in American Movie Classics' "Unscripted Hollywood" chat programs, sharing recollections with other stars, such as Betty Garrett and June Allyson. He and his second wife also hosted a local Los Angeles cable show devoted to films, "Reel to Reel."

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Half a Sixpence (1968)
Director
The Swinger (1966)
Director
Who Has Seen the Wind? (1965)
Director
Viva Las Vegas (1964)
Director
A Ticklish Affair (1963)
Director
Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
Director
Pepe (1961)
Director
Who Was That Lady? (1960)
Director
Pal Joey (1957)
Director
Jeanne Eagels (1957)
Director
The Eddy Duchin Story (1956)
Director
Jupiter's Darling (1955)
Director
Kiss Me Kate (1953)
Director
Young Bess (1953)
Director
Scaramouche (1952)
Director
Everything I Have Is Yours (1952)
Fill-In Director
Show Boat (1951)
Director
Key to the City (1950)
Director
Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
Director
The Red Danube (1949)
Director
The Three Musketeers (1948)
Director
Cass Timberlane (1948)
Director
Ziegfeld Follies (1946)
Director "When Television Comes"
The Harvey Girls (1946)
Director
Holiday in Mexico (1946)
Director
Anchors Aweigh (1945)
Director
Thousands Cheer (1944)
Director
Bathing Beauty (1944)
Director
Pilot #5 (1943)
Director
Pacific Rendezvous (1942)
Director
Free and Easy (1941)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Key to the City (1950)
Taxi driver
The Good Old Soak (1937)
Kennedy
Diamond Jim (1935)
The pawnbroker
Diamond Jim (1935)
Uncle Ike
Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
Poppa Rosen
The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble (1933)
Nathan Cohen
Rafter Romance (1933)
Eckbaum
The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood (1932)
Mr. [Moe] Cohen
The Heart of New York (1932)
Mendel
High Pressure (1932)
Ginsberg
Caught Cheating (1931)
Sam Harris
The Cohens and Kellys in Africa (1931)
Mr. [Nathan] Cohen
King of Jazz (1930)
Around the Corner (1930)
Kaplan
The Cohens and the Kellys in Scotland (1930)
Cohen
The Cohens and Kellys in Atlantic City (1929)
Mr. Cohen
The Latest From Paris (1928)
Sol Blogg
Give and Take (1928)
Albert Kruger
Flying Romeos (1928)
Cohen
We Americans (1928)
Mr. Levine
The Cohens and the Kellys in Paris (1928)
Nathan Cohen
The Life of Riley (1927)
Otto Meyer, police chief
The Auctioneer (1927)
Simon Levi
Clancy's Kosher Wedding (1927)
Hyman Cohen
For the Love of Mike (1927)
Abraham Katz
Lost at the Front (1927)
August Krause
Partners Again (1926)
Abe Potash
The Cohens and Kellys (1926)
Jacob Cohen
Millionaires (1926)
Meyer Rubens
The Prince of Pilsen (1926)
Hans Wagner
Sweet Daddies (1926)
Abie Finklebaum
Classified (1925)
Weinstein
In Hollywood With Potash and Perlmutter (1924)
Abe Potash

Producer (Feature Film)

Half a Sixpence (1968)
Producer
The Swinger (1966)
Producer
Who Has Seen the Wind? (1965)
Producer
Pepe (1961)
Producer
Jeanne Eagels (1957)
Producer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Half a Sixpence (1968)
Company
Viva Las Vegas (1964)
Company
Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
Company

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

This Is Elvis (1981)
Other

Cast (Special)

Greta Garbo: A Lone Star (2001)
Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies (2001)
Unscripted Hollywood (1995)
The Republic Pictures Story (1991)

Director (Short)

M-G-M Jubilee Overture (1954)
Director
Poet and Peasant Overture (1954)
Director (Uncredited)
Of Pups and Puzzles (1941)
Director
Flicker Memories (1941)
Director
Third Dimensional Murder (1941)
Director
Willie and the Mouse (1941)
Director
Quicker'n a Wink (1940)
Director
Cousin Wilbur (1939)
Director
Tiny Troubles (1939)
Director
Duel Personalities (1939)
Director
Clown Princes (1939)
Director
Love on Tap (1939)
Director
Alfalfa's Aunt (1939)
Director
Dog Daze (1939)
Director
Hollywood Hobbies (1939)
Director
Loews Christmas Greeting (The Hardy Family) (1939)
Director
Practical Jokers (1938)
Director
Billy Rose's Casa MaƱana Revue (1938)
Director
Men in Fright (1938)
Director
Football Romeo (1938)
Director
Party Fever (1938)
Director
Sunday Night at the Trocadero (1937)
Director
Pacific Paradise (1937)
Director

Life Events

1921

As five year old, co-starred with Tom Mix in "The Littlest Cowboy", a silent feature

1933

Joined MGM as messenger boy

1935

Began directing "Our Gang" comedies

1936

Became director of MGM screen tests

1937

Directed experimental 3-D short, "Third Dimensional Murder"

1940

Directed Oscar-winning short film "Quicker'n a Wink"

1941

Helmed Oscar-winning short film "Of Pups and Puzzles"

1941

Made feature film directorial debut with "Free and Easy"

1945

Directed classic musical "Anchors Aweigh"

1951

Directed remake of "Show Boat"

1953

Directed third Oscar-winning short film, "The Merry Wives of Windsor Overture"

1957

Began producing with "Jeanne Eagels"; also directed

1961

Served as president of Hanna-Barbera Productions

1964

Produced the 36th Annual Academy Awards telecast

1965

Received Emmy nomination for "Who Has Seen the Wind?"

1968

Produced and directed final film, "Half a Sixpence"

1995

Interviewed about his MGM years on American Movie Classics' "Unscripted Hollywood"

Photo Collections

Kiss Me Kate - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Kiss Me Kate (1953). Look for composer Cole Porter, director George Sidney, and stars Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Ann Miller, and others.
The Three Musketeers (1948) - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The Three Musketeers (1948). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Anchors Aweigh - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a number of photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Anchors Aweigh (1945). Look for stars Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Kathryn Grayson, director George Sidney, and even MGM cartoon stars Tom & Jerry!
Anchors Aweigh - Complete Shooting Script
Here is a copy of the complete shooting script (158 pages) for MGM's Anchors Aweigh (1945), written by Isobel Lennart. This a version dated 6/8/44 - the different colored pages indicate revisions made during the scripting process.
Rafter Romance - Scene Stills
Here are a number of scene stills from RKO's Rafter Romance (1933), starring Ginger Rogers and Norman Foster.

Videos

Movie Clip

High Pressure (1932) - No Romance In Sewage Rescued from a bender, promoter Gar Evans (William Powell) meets buddy Mike (Frank McHugh) and entrepreneur Ginsberg (George Sidney), early in High Pressure, 1932, from a play by Aben Kandel.
Pepe (1960) - How Humiliatin'! Cantinflas (title character), seeking his beloved horse, has reached Las Vegas, where director George Sidney lays down another barrage of cameos, this time including Frank Sinatra, Cesar Romero, Jimmy Durante and just the start of Dean Martin's bit (Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr. done earlier), in Pepe, 1960.
Pepe (1960) - That's How It Went, All Right It's been said that Bobby Darin's secret was that he could deliver any song like it was the one you'd been waiting for all night, example here with Cantinflas (title character) watching, tune by Andre and Dory Previn, in George Sidney's celebrity cavalcade Pepe, 1960.
Pepe (1960) - The Rumble Second part of a long number in an L-A club where waitress Suzie (Shirley Jones, not a double) also dances, Eugene Loring choreography with two uncredited partners, her friend Cantinflas (title character) panicking when it gets a little too West Side Story, in Pepe, 1960.
Red Danube, The (1949) - At The Gondola In Ten MInutes Smooth MGM introduction of flashy supporting players, Melville Cooper, Angela Lansbury and Peter Lawford, as British military staffers in post WWII Rome, opening the big budget political-romance The Red Danube, 1949, starring Janet Leigh, Walter Pidgeon and Ethel Barrymore.
Red Danube, The (1949) - We Have Our Lord Just arrived in Vienna where they’ll be sorting Russian refugees, Brits Nicobar (Walter Pidgeon), McPhinister (Peter Lawford) and Quail (Angela Lansbury) meet their hostess, the Mother Superior (Ethel Barrymore), and top-billed Janet Leigh makes her first appearance, in The Red Danube, 1949.
Ziegfeld Follies (1946) - Love (Lena Horne) A relatively modest production number, in MGM’s three million dollar musical, based on the premise of deceased impresario Florenz Ziegfeld imagining the show he could stage with MGM talent, Lena Horne with an original tune by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, in Ziegfeld Follies, 1946.
Viva Las Vegas (1964) - Come On Everybody! Lucky (Elvis Presley) is persuaded to perform Stanley Chianese's "Come On Everybody" for the kids, ably assisted by Rusty (Ann-Margret) in Viva Las Vegas, 1964.
Bathing Beauty (1944) - Nastursiums To You! Comedy with Red Skelton and Esther Williams, him a songwriter, her a swimming teacher, who walked out at their wedding after he was wrongly accused of being already married, now trying to win her back by enrolling at her school, Bill Goodwin the foil, in MGM’s Bathing Beauty, 1944.
Ziegfeld Follies (1946) - Love (Lena Horne) A relatively modest production number, in MGM’s three million dollar musical, based on the premise of deceased impresario Florenz Ziegfeld imagining the show he could stage with MGM talent, Lena Horne with an original tune by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, in Ziegfeld Follies, 1946.
Viva Las Vegas (1964) - Only Way to Travel! Local gal Rusty (Ann-Margret) and race driver Lucky (Elvis Presley), who turns out to also be helicopter pilot, take a vigorous recreational tour between musical numbers in Viva Las Vegas, 1964.
Viva Las Vegas (1964) - What'd I Say? A quick sample of "The Climb" by "The Forte` Four" leads into Lucky (Elvis Presley) and Rusty (Ann-Margret) leading their rousing version of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say?" in Viva Las Vegas, 1964.

Trailer

Pal Joey - (Original Trailer) Get a lesson in "Joey's Jargon" from Frank Sinatra himself, on the set of Pal Joey (1957).
Cass Timberlane - (Original Trailer) An aging judge creates a scandal when he marries a younger woman from the wrong side of the tracks in Cass Timberlane (1947) starring Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner.
Bye Bye Birdie - (Original Trailer) A rock star's personal appearance turns a small town into a disaster area. Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke star in the Broadway musical hit.
Annie Get Your Gun - (Original Trailer) Betty Hutton stars as Annie Oakley in the film version of Irving Berlin's musical Annie Get Your Gun (1950).
Anchors Aweigh - (Original Trailer) A pair of sailors on leave try to help a movie extra become a singing star in Anchors Aweigh (1945) starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson.
High Pressure - (Original Trailer) William Powell is a scheming promoter who tries to get rich selling artificial rubber in the comedy High Pressure (1932).
Three Musketeers, The (1948) -- (Re-issue Trailer) Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, and Janet Leigh star in The Three Musketeers (1948), a lavish adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' classic swashbuckler.
Pacific Rendezvous - (Original Trailer) An expert at deciphering codes (Lee Bowman) takes on an enemy spy ring in Pacific Rendezvous (1942).
Pilot No. 5 - (Original Trailer) While their buddy (Franchot Tone) flies a suicide mission, World War II airmen recall the events that led him to this noble sacrifice in Pilot No. 5 (1943).
Thousands Cheer - (Original Trailer) An egotistical acrobat (Gene Kelly) joins the Army and falls in love with his commander's daughter in the all-star spectacular Thousands Cheer (1943).
Holiday in Mexico - (Original Trailer) An ambassador's daughter (Jane Powell) falls for a famous musician on Holiday In Mexico (1946).
Harvey Girls, The - (Original Trailer) Straitlaced waitresses battle saloon girls to win the West for domesticity in The Harvey Girls (1946), a musical romance starring Judy Garland and featuring the hit song, "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe."

Family

Louis Sidney
Father
Producer.
Hazael Mooney
Mother
Performer. Appeared as one of The Mooney Sisters, a vaudeville act.
Ben Entratter
Step-Son

Companions

Jane Robinson
Wife
Married 1978 until her death; widow of actor Edward G Robinson.
Corinne Entratter
Wife
Entertainment writer.

Bibliography

Notes

Not to be confused with the character actor of the same name.

Sidney was the 36th member of the Directors Guild of America and served as its president for 16 years (1950-1966).