Morris Carnovsky


Actor
Morris Carnovsky

About

Birth Place
St Louis, Missouri, USA
Born
September 05, 1897
Died
September 01, 1992

Biography

A distinguished American stage actor with a background in Yiddish-language theater, Carnovsky worked with the Theater Guild on Broadway in the 1920s before becoming involved with New York's Group Theater, for whom he originated the roles of Dr. Levine in "Men in White," Jacob in "Awake and Sing!" and Mr. Bonaparte in "Golden Boy." In the late 1930s Carnovsky gravitated to Hollywood, wher...

Family & Companions

Phoebe Brand
Wife
Actor. Married from September 17, 1941 until his death.

Biography

A distinguished American stage actor with a background in Yiddish-language theater, Carnovsky worked with the Theater Guild on Broadway in the 1920s before becoming involved with New York's Group Theater, for whom he originated the roles of Dr. Levine in "Men in White," Jacob in "Awake and Sing!" and Mr. Bonaparte in "Golden Boy." In the late 1930s Carnovsky gravitated to Hollywood, where he began with a memorable turn as author Anatole France in the Oscar-winning "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937) and expounded his anti-fascist views in Lewis Milestone's "Edge of Darkness" (1943) and Herbert Biberman's "The Master Race" (1944). Dignified whether playing heroes or villains, the compact Carnovsky appeared in several fine films of the 40s and 50s including "Cornered" (1945), "Dead Reckoning" (1947), "Thieves Highway" (1949), "Gun Crazy" (1950) and the touching drama, "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" (1945).

Shortly after completing a role in Stanley Kramer's "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1950), Carnovsky was called upon to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Refusing to compromise his rights or to vilify colleagues, Carnovsky was blacklisted but, partly thanks to the help of John Houseman, was able to revive his career in live theater. Portraying characters from Shylock to Lear (at the American Shakespeare Festival) and enjoying many of the plums of the classical and contemporary repertory during the next three decades, Carnovsky enjoyed his career peak late in life, though American films of that period were denied a singular talent.

Life Events

1914

Played Benjamin Disraeli in a high school play

1920

Professional stage acting debut with the Henry Jewett Players in Boston

1922

Broadway debut in "The God of Vengeance"

1924

Was a member of the Theater Guild's acting company

1929

Portrayed the title role in Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya"

1931

Joined the Group Theater

1937

Moved to Hollywood

1937

Feature debut as Anatole France in "The Life of Emile Zola"

1951

Placed on the stand by the House Un-American Activities Committee; refused to name names and was blacklisted

1951

Last feature film for over a decade, "The Second Woman"

1956

Brought by the late producer John Housesman to perform at the American Shakespeare Festival Theater in Stratford, Connecticut

1962

Returned to feature films to act in Sidney Lumet's adaptation of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge"

1974

Last feature film, Karel Reisz's "The Gambler"

1983

Final stage performance as Firs in Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut

1984

Acted in an "American Playhouse" dramatization of part of the life of novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer, "The Cafeteria"

1989

Appeared on an installment of the PBS series "American Masters" entitled "Broadway Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theatre"

Videos

Movie Clip

Thieves' Highway (1949) - The Chinese Have Small Feet During his big fat Greek-American return to California, ship mechanic Nick (Richard Conte), with his mom, dad (Tamara Shayne, Morris Carnovsky) and probably-fianceè Polly (Barbara Lawrence), discovers bad news that had been kept from him, early in Jules Dassin’s Thieves’ Highway, 1949.
Rhapsody In Blue (1945) - A Fella's Gotta Start Somewhere First scene for Robert Alda as grown-up Bronxite George Gershwin, with brother Ira (Herbert Rudley) and parents (Rosemary DeCamp, Morris Carnovsky), when a message from Chico Marx leads to a meeting with an insulting Vaudevillian (Andrew Tombes), in Warner Bros.’ bio-pic Rhapsody In Blue, 1945.
Dead Reckoning (1947) - My Right Hand On Her Spine Rip (Humphrey Bogart), still narrating in flashback as he tracks his probably-murdered war-buddy, has found his ex-singer ex-gal Constance (Lizabeth Scott), to whom he breaks the news, then meets her slick ex-boss Martinelli (Morris Carnovsky), in Columbia's Dead Reckoning, 1947.
Gun Crazy (1949) - He Was Always Good The heady opening from director Joseph H. Lewis, featurng "Rusty" Tamblyn as young Bart, Anabel Shaw as his mother, Morris Carnovsky as the juvenile court judge, from Gun Crazy, 1949, from a story by MacKinlay Kantor.
Cyrano De Bergerac (1950) - Whom Shall I Love? Lamenting his lovesick and impoverished state with his friend Le Bret (Morris Carnovsky), Jose Ferrer in his Academy Award-winning performance as the nosey title character, charms an enthralled barmaid (Elena Verdugo), in Cyrano De Bergerac, 1950.
Address Unknown (1944) - Who Is This Adolf Hitler? Martin (Paul Lukas) reading a letter from home with pal Professor Schmidt (Frank Reicher) when Baron von Friesche (Carl Esmond) intrudes, in a Munich cafe in Address Unknown, 1944.
Address Unknown (1944) - Open, No Baseball Opening credits and a cordial scene between German-American art-dealer partners Martin (Paul Lukas) and Max (Morris Carnovsky) in San Francisco, from William Cameron Menzies' political drama Address Unknown, 1944.
Address Unknown (1944) - Charm And Courtesy Martin (Paul Lukas) and family in Munich, receive a letter from partner Max (Morris Carnovsky) and son Heinrich (Peter Van Eyck) back in San Francisco, with an odd client (Mary Young) in Address Unknown, 1944.

Trailer

Family

Gertrude Carnovsky
Sister
Survived him.
Deborah Carnovsky
Sister
Survived him.
Stephen Carnovsky
Son
Survived him.

Companions

Phoebe Brand
Wife
Actor. Married from September 17, 1941 until his death.

Bibliography