John Huston


Director
John Huston

About

Also Known As
John Marcellus Huston, Maj. John Huston, Capt. John Huston
Birth Place
Nevada, Missouri, USA
Born
August 05, 1906
Died
August 28, 1987
Cause of Death
Complications From Emphysema

Biography

Without a doubt one of the most influential, prolific directors of any era, John Huston's reach spanned several decades and numerous film genres that displayed vast imagination while focusing on characters struggling for individuality despite constraints from the world around them. Huston led quite an adventurous life even before he began his Hollywood career, often recalling his days as...

Photos & Videos

The Man Who Would Be King - Movie Poster
Johnny O'Clock - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Reflections in a Golden Eye - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Dorothy Harvey
Wife
High school sweetheart; married c. 1928; divorced in 1932; reportedly was an alcoholic.
Zita Johann
Companion
Actor. Had relationship in the 1930s.
Lesley Black
Wife
English; met in 1935; gave birth to stillborn daughter in 1939; divorced.
Olivia de Havilland
Companion
Actor. Had relationship in early 1940s; reunited in the 1950s after her divorce.

Bibliography

"An Open Book"
John Huston, Alfred A. Knopf (1980)
"Fool"
John Huston
"John Huston's Filmmaking"
Lesley Brill

Notes

"The great screenwriter and director John Huston was also a memorable actor and talker. The rumbling, sonorous grandiloquence, the archly raised chin, the massive gaiety, with its suggestion of tricks or outright fraud--there were elements of a ripe, nineteenth-century theatricality in Huston's impish performances and echoes, as well, of florid, speechifying senators and tent preachers saving souls. Huston was not, apparently a very nice man; Polanski caught him at his most purely malevolent in "Chinatown", playing the wealthy and rapacious Noah Cross. But he was one beautiful charmer."--David Denby in his review of "White Hunter, Black Heart" in New York, October 1, 1990)

Awarded the Legion of Merit for bravery during WWII.

Biography

Without a doubt one of the most influential, prolific directors of any era, John Huston's reach spanned several decades and numerous film genres that displayed vast imagination while focusing on characters struggling for individuality despite constraints from the world around them. Huston led quite an adventurous life even before he began his Hollywood career, often recalling his days as a boxer, Mexican cavalry officer and avid horseback rider in many of his films. After a false start as a screenwriter in the early days of talkies, Huston re-emerged in the late-1930s as a successful contract writer who penned such hits as "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" (1938), "Sergeant York" (1941) and "High Sierra" (1941). During this time, he developed a strong working collaboration with Humphrey Bogart, who became a major star following his turn in Huston's directorial debut, "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), one of the best film noirs ever made. The two had even greater success with "The Treasure of Sierra Madre" (1948), which earned Huston and his father, actor Walter Huston, Academy Awards. From there, the director entered into what became his most fruitful period, helming such long-held classics as "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), "The Red Badge of Courage" (1951) and "The African Queen" (1952), which delivered Bogie his only Oscar. He also began acting later in his career, turning in an acclaimed supporting performance in "The Cardinal" (1963) while being best remembered for his portrayal of the vile Noah Cross in "Chinatown" (1974). In the last decade of his life, Huston returned to critical and box office prominence with "Prizzi's Honor" (1985), which earned daughter Anjelica an Academy Award, making the Hustons the first family to win Oscars in three successive generations. As for Huston himself, he left behind a compelling legacy that included an adventurous life and a career that cemented him as arguably the greatest director in Hollywood history.

Born on Aug. 5, 1906 in Nevada, MO, Huston was raised the only child of noted stage and screen star, Walter Huston, and sports journalist and editor Rhea Gore. His parents divorced when he was six years old, forcing Huston to split time between both while receiving his education at various boarding schools. Though his father quit acting to become a civil engineer when his son was born, he soon returned to his craft, allowing the young Huston to spend his summers traveling with his father on the vaudeville circuit. Naturally, he became attracted to the idea of becoming an actor. But Huston developed a number of childhood maladies like an enlarged heart and kidney problems that forced extended bed rest in Arizona before moving to Los Angeles with his mother. He later attended Lincoln Heights High School, where he took up boxing and won the Amateur Lightweight Boxing Championship in California, leading to a semi-professional stint after dropping out of school at 15 years old. He fought in various clubs for five dollars a night until discovering a love for painting, which led to enrollment at the Smith School of Art.

By this time, Huston resumed his boxing career, only to have his nose smashed into his face, forcing an end to that particular ambition. He moved to New York City, where he began performing on stage in 1924 with the Provincetown Players in Greenwich Village. An avid horseback rider, he soon made his way to Mexico in search of a famous trainer and colonel in the army, who gave him an honorary commission, allowing him to ride with the officers. This led to a confrontation with a South African count over a woman that escalated to challenges of a duel that fortunately never materialized. Encouraged to become a writer after receiving an illicit copy of James Joyce's then-banned Ulysses, Huston began writing short stories, having "Fool" accepted by legendary editor H.L. Mencken for his magazine American Mercury in 1929. He followed in his mother's footsteps and became a journalist, writing for the New York Daily Graphic, only to realize he lacked the requisite skills to be a good reporter - proven when he mixed up his notes while writing a murder story and accused the wrong man of the crime.

By this time, Huston had married his first wife and high school sweetheart, Dorothy Harvey, while his stories appeared in the likes of Esquire and The New York Times. Having found some success as a playwright, he was convinced by friend and Broadway director Herman Shumlin to try his hand at Hollywood, leading Huston to move back to Los Angeles, where he became a contract writer for Samuel Goldwyn. His initial Hollywood stint was marred by dissatisfaction, starting with his departure from Goldwyn Studios to Universal Studios after months of landing no assignments. For Universal, he worked on the scripts for "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1932), an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe short story; "Law and Order" (1932), a retelling of the famed shootout at the OK Corral; and "A House Divided" (1932), directed by William Wyler and starring his father, Walter Huston. While spending his days and nights as a wastrel, earning quite a reputation for his drinking and carousing, Huston suddenly found himself in the center of tragedy after striking and killing a female pedestrian in a car accident. Though cleared of any wrongdoing, Huston was nonetheless traumatized by the experience, leading to a personal exile in London, where he spent his days adrift.

Though he had script work lined up in England, the job fell through and spun Huston into a state of poverty that involved sleeping in parks and singing in the streets for his supper. He eventually moved back to the United States, having met his second wife, Lesley Black, and embarked on the second, more elongated phase of his Hollywood career. Determined to become a serious writer, Huston achieved great renown as a contract writer for Warner Bros. It was there that he co-wrote major films like "Jezebel" (1938) with Bette Davis; "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" (1938), starring Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart; and "Juarez" (1939), a historical epic that Huston latter revealed was ruined by star Paul Muni's insistence that his supporting role be greatly expanded. Huston earned the first of many Academy Award nominations with his co-writing efforts on "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" (1940), a biographical drama about the pioneering German scientist Paul Ehrlich (Edward G. Robinson). He earned another Academy Award nod for "Sergeant York" (1941), a biography detailing the storied life of Alvin York (Gary Cooper), the most-decorated soldier from World War I.

It was around this time that Huston - still married to Black - began an extramarital affair with socialite Marietta FitzGerald - herself married to lawyer and later high-ranking CIA officer Desmond FitzGerald. Meanwhile, he wrote the script for "High Sierra" (1941), a gritty crime thriller about a paroled con (Humphrey Bogart) whose early release was arranged in order for him to pull off a big heist. Because the movie was a big hit, Huston - who had it in his contract to be able to direct his next picture - was given the opportunity to step into the director's chair with his choice of material. Huston picked an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, which had previously been made into two failed earlier versions by Warner Bros. Also writing the script, Huston kept close to the source material - no surprise due to his long admiration for the author - which starred Bogart as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled, unscrupulous private detective who takes on a case from a Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor) who seeks protection, only to find himself embroiled in an international scheme to find a jewel-encrusted falcon. Though made on a shoestring budget, Huston's version was a huge hit and became the stylistic template for all other film noirs to follow. It also introduced one of the most memorable lines in cinema history - "the stuff that dreams are made of" - while also helping the man who uttered that line, Humphrey Bogart, become the biggest star in Hollywood.

Huston went on to direct two more hits, the melodramatic "In This Our Life" (1942), starring Bette Davis and his new companion Olivia de Havilland, and the spy thriller "Across the Pacific" (1942), with Bogart again in the lead. Like many others in the Hollywood community, Huston put aside career ambitions to become involved in the war effort, earning the rank of captain with the Army Signal Corps and producing groundbreaking documentary work like "Report from the Aleutians" (1943), "The Battle of San Pietro" (1944) and "Let There Be Light" (1945), the last being an account of psychological dysfunction among American G.I.s which federal authorities withheld from release until 1981. Returning to Hollywood once the war was over, Huston embarked on the most fruitful and significant portion of his career. From 1948-1952, he produced a succession of important films that went on to become cinematic classics long admired by later generations. First was "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948), which starred Bogart as a down-and-out drifter who - along with his fellow destitute compatriot (Tim Holt) - gets pulled into prospecting for gold by a seemingly crazy old man (Walter Huston), only to find himself increasingly paranoid and distrustful of his two companions. A morality tale on the evil men cause in pursuit of riches, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" became an instant classic, earning Huston Academy Awards for writing and directing, and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his father.

With his next film, "Key Largo" (1948), Huston further defined the film noir with its cynical and world-weary hero, an embittered war veteran (Bogart) who finds himself at odds with his lost idealism and the love of his deceased war buddy's wife (Lauren Bacall), while being dragged into confrontation with a vicious local gangster (Edward G. Robinson). Following the less-known adventure drama "We Were Strangers" (1949), starring John Garfield, Huston directed "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), a heist-film-gone-wrong that was arguably one of the most influential and revered crime noirs of all time, earning him more Academy Award nominations as writer and director. Starring Sterling Hayden as the indomitable crook Dix Handley, Sam Jaffe as the criminal mastermind Doc, and Louis Calhern as the double-crossing financier, Emmerich, "The Asphalt Jungle" was one of the first movies to show crime and its consequences from the criminals' perspective, making for a gritty thriller that was often imitated in ensuing decades. The picture also marked a small, but star-making turn by a then-unknown Marilyn Monroe. Huston followed with "The Red Badge of Courage" (1951), adapted from Stephen Crane's literary classic about a Civil War soldier (Audie Murphy) looking for redemption after an act of cowardice.

Arguably his most accomplished and mature work came next with "The African Queen" (1952), an action-adventure that featured two perfectly cast leads: Humphrey Bogart playing a disheveled, gin-swilling captain of a rundown steamer in East Africa tasked with transporting an uptight and judgmental missionary (Katharine Hepburn) back to civilization. Shot on location in Africa, the picture was plagued by problems, including rampant sickness and dangerous filming conditions. It was ultimately worth the trouble, as "The African Queen" earned four Academy Award nominations, including two for Huston. Perhaps more meaningful, under his direction, Bogart won his first and only Best Actor Oscar. The director garnered yet another Oscar nomination for Best Director with "Moulin Rouge" (1952), his biography on the life and tragic death of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, a 19th century French artist deformed as a child who lost himself in drink and debauchery in bohemian Paris. Beginning with the disappointing reception accorded his offbeat comic thriller "Beat the Devil" (1953), again starring Bogart, Huston's reputation suffered a series of setbacks over the next 20 years. By this time, he had endured personal frustration with the ugly politics of the McCarthy Era, particularly when his involvement in a group called the Committee for the First Amendment was charged with being a Communist front.

Though he never directly attributed his moving to Ireland during this period to the accusations and general fear brought about by the Communist witch hunts, there was no doubt that Huston was disgusted by it. But he found peace on an estate in Galway, where he indulged in fox hunting and farming - a period he later recalled as one of his fondest. Also at this time, Huston married his fourth wife, Enrica Soma, who gave birth to his first two children, Tony and Anjelica. In 1962, the couple separated, in which time Enrica had another daughter, Allegra, with an English nobleman, whom Huston later raised as his own after they resumed their marriage. In the meantime, he directed and co-wrote with Ray Bradbury an adaption of "Moby Dick" (1956), which starred Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab. Filmed over three years in Ireland while browbeating Bradbury over the script, "Moby Dick" was a commercial failure despite a more than adequate telling of Herman Melville's allegorical tale. Recalling "The African Queen" with his next picture, "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison" (1957), Huston pitted Robert Mitchum's swaggering Marine against Deborah Kerr's obstinate nun, as both are marooned on a South Pacific island surrounded by Japanese troops. Huston received his 11th Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Huston's directing career entered serious decline with his next three projects, "The Barbarian and the Geisha" (1958), starring John Wayne; "The Roots of Heaven" (1958), with Errol Flynn; and the production-plagued Western "The Unforgiven" (1960), starring Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn, who suffered a broken back and subsequent miscarriage after falling off a horse on set. Huston ran into further behind-the-scenes problems with "The Misfits" (1961), namely brought about by the difficulty with stars Montgomery Clift and Marilyn Monroe. By this point in her career, Monroe was emotionally distraught over her broken-down marriage to playwright Arthur Miller, while also sinking further into her alcohol and prescription drug addictions. The actress was notoriously late to set on most days and was sent to a hospital to detox, leading to the set being shut down. Meanwhile, Clift also had his own crippling addictions while also suffering the lingering effects from a serious car accident four years prior. Even Huston descended into his own vices of drinking and gambling, which led United Artists to cover some of his debts. The problems were evident in the final product, which was met with mixed reviews and box office failure. But critics praised Monroe's performance, unaware that it would be her last. Also logging his last performance was star Clark Gable, who died from a severe heat attack shortly after filming. Whispers that Monroe's behavior had led to Gable's heart attack caused the troubled star to attempt to take her life. All in all - Huston considered "The Misfits" his most traumatic experience as a filmmaker.

Despite his difficulties with Clift on the set of "The Misfits," Huston opted to cast the fragile, declining actor in "Freud: The Secret Passion" (1962), the director's rather off-kilter biography of the famed psychoanalyst. Huston collaborated with French philosopher Jean-Paul Satre on the script, though both men failed to get along, leading Satre to remove his name from the credits. Making his feature debut as an actor, Huston delivered a surprisingly good supporting performance in Otto Preminger's religious-themed drama "The Cardinal" (1963), which led to his only acting Academy Award nomination - Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Back in the director's chair, he helmed the stylish, but rather thin detective drama "The List of Adrian Messenger" (1963), starring John Merivale and George C. Scott, and featuring a bevy of cameos from the likes of Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis. Huston returned to artistic form with his adaptation of Tennessee Williams' drama "The Night of the Iguana" (1964), which starred Richard Burton as the alcoholic defrocked Reverend Shannon, who works as a tour guide in Mexico and attempts various dalliances with three women - a hotel-owning widow (Ava Gardner), a 17-year-old girl (Sue Lyon) and a chaste artist (Deborah Kerr).

Huston spent a great deal of time making his next picture, "The Bible: In the Beginning" (1966), a massive and often disjointed epic that retold the first 22 chapters of the Book of Genesis. With varying tones and visual styles, Huston sped through the stories of creation, Adam and Eve (Michael Parks and Ulla Bergryd), Cain and Abel (Richard Harris and Franco Nero), the Tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the plight of Abraham (George C. Scott). Even Huston appeared onscreen in a seriocomic rendering of Noah's ark, while also voicing the narrator, the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and even God himself. The film was intended as the first of several installments in a franchise, but a poor showing at the box office ended that particular aspiration. Huston next joined four other directors to helm the confusing mishmash parody "Casino Royale" (1967), in which an aging James Bond (David Niven) is called upon to save his agency from being infiltrated by villains. He moved on to direct "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967), a rather bleak drama about a tormented Army officer (Marlon Brando) struggling to hide his latent homosexuality from his wife (Elizabeth Taylor), who carries on with another officer (Brian Keith). The role was originally intended for Montgomery Clift, but was offered to Brando after Clift died from a heart attack in 1966.

Huston suffered more personal tragedy when wife, Enrica Soma, mother of Anjelica, died in an automobile accident in 1969. Meanwhile, he directed the then-inexperienced Anjelica in the costume romance "A Walk with Love and Death" (1969), which many critics castigated as a vanity project for his daughter, though her performance was better than was acknowledged. With his career clearly on a down slope, Huston directed such forgettable pictures as the caper comedy "Sinful Davey" (1969) and the spy thriller "The Kremlin Letter" (1970), while appearing more frequently onscreen with roles in the satirical "Myra Breckinridge" (1970) and the Spaghetti Western "The Deserter" (1971). After directing "The Last Run" (1971) with George C. Scott, Huston returned to form with the sorrowful "Fat City" (1972), a gritty and rather downbeat story of the ebbing fortunes of a washed-up boxer (Stacy Keach) who takes up with an alcoholic outcast (Susan Tyrrell) while raising the hopes of a young boxer on the rise (Jeff Bridges). Despite the movie's failure at the box office, largely due to its bleak tone, Huston was welcomed back into the good graces of the critical community. Also that year, he directed "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" (1972), a surreal, loosely-based biography of the infamous self-appointed frontier judge (Paul Newman), who held court in the wastelands of western Texas in the late 19th century.

After helming the misfire spy thriller "The Mackintosh Man" (1973), again starring Paul Newman, Huston appeared onscreen in perhaps his most famous role, playing the charming but despicable Noah Cross in "Chinatown" (1974), whose unspeakable relationship with his emotionally disturbed daughter (Faye Dunaway) leads a nosy private detective (Jack Nicholson) down a slippery slope of murder and deceit. Following a starring role as a villain who frames Charles Bronson in "Breakout" (1975), he directed the epic adventure "The Man Who Would Be King" (1975), adapted from the Rudyard Kipling short story of the same name. Originally planned more than 20 years previously as a vehicle for Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable, the film starred Sean Connery and Michael Caine as two English ex-soldiers who leave British-ruled India to become kings in Afghanistan. Arguably one of his most fully realized quest narratives, "The Man Who Would Be King" earned Huston an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. He accepted roles in a variety of pictures, including the historical epic "The Wind and the Lion" (1975), the hysterically bad Italian horror flick "I Tentacoli" (1977), and the dull supernatural thriller "The Bermuda Triangle" (1978).

Despite his advanced age and increasingly poor health - not to mention the coming and going of his fifth wife, Celeste Shane, whom he latter called a "crocodile" in his autobiography An Open Book (1980) - Huston continued to make a movie almost every year. He next directed "Wise Blood" (1979), a compelling piece of Southern Gothic based on Flannery O'Connor's novel that was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. Following the disastrous horror flick, "Phobia" (1980), Huston directed the compelling World War II thriller "Victory" (1981), which chronicled a daring prison escape by a group of Allies (led by Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone) during a soccer match between the prisoners and Nazi soldiers. He helmed the well-intentioned, but ultimately overproduced musical "Annie" (1982), which went on to become a box office hit despite very mixed critical reviews. After directing the long strange trip "Under the Volcano" (1984), starring Albert Finney, Huston returned to past glory with "Prizzi's Honor" (1985), a crime comedy about a Mafia hit man (Jack Nicholson) who falls for his opposite number (Kathleen Turner), only to learn that she is next on his list. Daughter Anjelica Huston delivered a dynamic performance as the hit man's spurned lover, earning her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her triumph made the Hustons - Walter, John and Anjelica - the only family to win Oscars in three successive generations.

At this point in his life, Huston was far removed from his beloved Ireland and was residing in beautiful Las Caletas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he engaged in a long romance with his much younger former housekeeper, Maricela Hernandez. His health was also rapidly failing him. He suffered from a long bout with emphysema while also undergoing major heart surgery. But none of this stopped the ever-energetic director who went on to helm another long-held project, "The Dead" (1987), an adaptation of the famous James Joyce short story which he co-wrote with son, Tony. Both elegiac and reflective, "The Dead" starred Anjelica Huston as a married woman forced by her spinster aunts (Helena Carroll and Cathleen Delany) to recount to her husband (Donal McCann) the story behind a long-dead lover who still holds sway over her life. The lyrical drama proved to be a fitting swan song for the director, who died on Aug. 28, 1987 in Middletown, R.I. He was 81. At the time of his death, Huston was preparing for his next film, "Mr. North" (1988), which he wrote and was also going to produce. But when his illnesses finally got the better of him, son Danny Huston, whom he had fathered with actress Zoe Sallis in the 1960s, took over the helm.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Dead (1987)
Director
Prizzi's Honor (1985)
Director
Under the Volcano (1984)
Director
Annie (1982)
Director
Victory (1981)
Director
Phobia (1981)
Director
Let There Be Light (1980)
Director
Wise Blood (1979)
Director
Independence (1976)
Director
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Director
The Mackintosh Man (1973)
Director
Fat City (1972)
Director
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)
Director
The Last Run (1971)
Director
The Kremlin Letter (1970)
Director
The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969)
Director (see note)
Sinful Davey (1969)
Director
A Walk with Love and Death (1969)
Director
Casino Royale (1967)
Director
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
Director
The Bible...In the Beginning (1966)
Director
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
Director
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)
Director
Freud (1962)
Director
The Misfits (1961)
Director
The Unforgiven (1960)
Director
The Roots of Heaven (1958)
Director
The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)
Director
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Director
Moby Dick (1956)
Director
Beat the Devil (1954)
Director
Moulin Rouge (1953)
Director
The African Queen (1951)
Director
The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
Director
The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Director
We Were Strangers (1949)
Director
On Our Merry Way (1948)
Director
Key Largo (1948)
Director
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Director
Let There Be Light (1946)
Director
San Pietro (1945)
Director
Report from the Aleutians (1943)
Director
In This Our Life (1942)
Director
Across the Pacific (1942)
Director
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

The Other Side of the Wind (2018)
Pele Eterno (2005)
Words In Progress (2004)
MGM: When the Lion Roars (1992)
With Orson Welles: Stories From A Life (1989)
Bacall On Bogart (1988)
John Huston & The Dubliners (1987)
Himself
Momo (1986)
Mr. Corbett's Ghost (1986)
Rufino Tamayo: The Sources of His Art (1986)
Narration
50 Years of Action! (1986)
Himself
The Black Cauldron (1985)
Narrator
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985)
Carlos
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985)
Narration
Observations Under the Volcano (1984)
Himself
Angela (1984)
Hogan
Notes From Under the Volcano (1984)
Himself
Young Giants (1983)
Lovesick (1983)
Cannery Row (1982)
Narrator
Agee (1980)
Himself
Head On (1980)
Clarke Hill
The Visitor (1979)
Jersey Colsowitz
Winter Kills (1979)
Pa Kegan
Wise Blood (1979)
Jaguar Lives! (1979)
The Great Battle (1978)
Tentacles (1977)
Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976)
Professor James Moriarty
Hollywood On Trial (1976)
Narrator
Breakout (1975)
Chinatown (1974)
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)
Grizzly Adams
The Deserter (1971)
General Miles
Man in the Wilderness (1971)
Captain [Filmore] Henry
La Spina Dorsale del Diavola (1971)
Myra Breckinridge (1970)
Buck Loner
The Kremlin Letter (1970)
Admiral
Myra Breckinridge (1970)
Buck Loner
A Walk with Love and Death (1969)
Robert the Elder
De Sade (1969)
Abbé de Sade
Candy (1968)
Dr. Dunlap
Casino Royale (1967)
McTarry/M
The Bible...In the Beginning (1966)
Noah/narrator
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)
Huntsman
The Cardinal (1963)
Cardinal Glennon
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
White suit
San Pietro (1945)
Narrator
Report from the Aleutians (1943)
Narrator

Writer (Feature Film)

Mr. North (1988)
Screenplay
Let There Be Light (1980)
Writer
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Screenwriter
The Kremlin Letter (1970)
Screenwriter
Casino Royale (1967)
Additional Dialogue
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
Screenwriter
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Screenwriter
Moby Dick (1956)
Screenwriter
Beat the Devil (1954)
Screenwriter
Moulin Rouge (1953)
Screenwriter
The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
Screenwriter
The African Queen (1951)
Adapted for the screen
The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Screenwriter
We Were Strangers (1949)
Screenwriter
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Screenwriter
Key Largo (1948)
Screenwriter
Three Strangers (1946)
Original Screenplay
Let There Be Light (1946)
Writer
San Pietro (1945)
Screenwriter
Tunisian Victory (1944)
Writer
Report from the Aleutians (1943)
Screenwriter
High Sierra (1941)
Screenwriter
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Screenwriter
Sergeant York (1941)
Original Screenplay
Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940)
Screenwriter
Juarez (1939)
Screenwriter
Wuthering Heights (1939)
Contract Writer
The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse (1938)
Screenwriter
Jezebel (1938)
Screenwriter
Death Drives Through (1935)
From Story
The Mighty Barnum (1934)
Contract Writer
Law and Order (1932)
Adapted and dial
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
Additional Dialogue
A House Divided (1931)
Dial
The Acquittal (1923)
Cont

Producer (Feature Film)

Mr. North (1988)
Executive Producer
Moby Dick (1956)
Producer

Editing (Feature Film)

Report from the Aleutians (1943)
Film Editor

Production Companies (Feature Film)

The Kremlin Letter (1970)
Company
A Walk with Love and Death (1969)
Company
Sinful Davey (1969)
Company
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
Company
The Night of the Iguana (1964)
Company
Freud (1962)
Company
The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
Company

Post Production (Feature Film)

Moby Dick (1956)
Col style created by

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Words In Progress (2004)
Himself
John Huston & The Dubliners (1987)
Other
50 Years of Action! (1986)
Other
Maria's Lovers (1985)
Other
Observations Under the Volcano (1984)
Other
Agee (1980)
Other

Cast (Special)

The Television Makers (1987)
Narrator
Errol Flynn: Portrait of a Swashbuckler (1987)
The American Film Institute Salute to Barbara Stanwyck (1987)
Performer
Directed By William Wyler (1986)
Himself
Flight of the Whooping Crane (1984)
Narrator
The American Film Institute Salute to Lillian Gish (1984)
Performer
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984)
Himself
The American Film Institute Salute to John Huston (1983)
Performer
The Legend of Marilyn Monroe (1966)
Narration

Misc. Crew (Special)

Directed By William Wyler (1986)
Other
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984)
Other

Director (Short)

San Pietro (1944)
Director
Winning Your Wings (1942)
Director

Cast (Short)

On the Trail of the Iguana (1964)
Himself
San Pietro (1944)
Narrator

Cinematography (Short)

San Pietro (1944)
Cinematographer

Writer (Short)

Know Your Enemy: Japan (1945)
Writer
San Pietro (1944)
Writer

Producer (Short)

San Pietro (1944)
Producer (Uncredited)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Word (1978)
The Hobbit (1977)
Gandalf the Grey

Life Events

1909

Stage acting debut at age three (date approximate)

1917

Moved to L.A. for health reasons

1928

Resigned commission

1929

Made acting debut with uncredited appearance in "Hell's Heroes"

1932

Left Hollywood

1935

Made contract writer at Warner Bros.

1940

Earned first Academy Award nomination for contributions to script of "Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet"

1941

Debut as film director with "The Maltese Falcon"; also scripted; first screen collaboration with Humphrey Bogart; father Walter appeared in small part; received Oscar nomination for screenplay

1941

Co-wrote the biopic "Sergeant York"; shared Academy Award nomination for script

1942

Became a lieutenant with Signal Corps

1945

Returned to Hollywood and did uncredited work on the screenplays of "The Killers" and "The Stranger" (both 1946)

1948

Received Oscars as Best Director and for Best Screenply for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"; father Walter won Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for same film

1950

Earned dual Oscar nods for writing and directing "The Asphalt Jungle"

1951

Wrote and directed "The African Queen"; garnered two more Academy Award nominations; star Humphrey Bogart received Best Actor Oscar

1952

Garnered yet another Oscar nomination for direction of "Moulin Rouge", the biopic of artist Toulouse-Lautrec

1956

Produced, wrote and directed "Moby Dick", adapted from Herman Melville's classic novel

1957

Earned Academy Award nomination for contributions to script of "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison"; also directed

1961

Directed "The Misfits", scripted by Arthur Miller and co-starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift

1962

Guided Clift through the title role of "Freud"

1963

Co-starred in "The Cardinal"; received Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor

1964

Helmed the screen adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana", featuring Ava Gardner, Richard Burton and Deborah Kerr

1966

Played Noah and provided the voice of God in "The Bible"; also directed

1967

Produced and directed "Reflections in a Golden Eye"

1969

Directed daughter Anjelica in the lead of the medieval romance "A Walk With Love and Death"; also acted

1970

Acted in the camp classic "Myra Breckinridge"

1972

Directed the superb boxing-themed drama "Fat City"

1974

Delivered memorable turn as the nasty Noah Cross in "Chinatown"

1975

Received 13th Academy Award nomination for script of "The Man Who Would Be King", adapted from a Rudyard Kipling story; also directed

1979

Helmed "Wise Blood", adapted from Flannery O'Connor's novel; also acted the role of Hazel's grandfather

1982

Directed first screen musical, the overproduced boxoffice disappointment "Annie", based on the hit Broadway musical

1984

Realized a long-held dream to film "Under the Volcano" with Albert Finney in the lead

1985

Earned final Oscar nomination for the black comedy "Prizzi's Honor"; daughter Anjelica received the Best Supporting Actress statue for her turn as a Mafia princess

1987

Directed last film, "The Dead"; daughter Anjelica offered memorable performance; son Tony wrote the screenplay based on the James Joyce story

1988

Produced and scripted "Mr. North"; had been set to direct but became too ill; son Danny replaced him at the helm

Photo Collections

The Man Who Would Be King - Movie Poster
The Man Who Would Be King - Movie Poster
Johnny O'Clock - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Johnny O'Clock - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Reflections in a Golden Eye - Movie Poster
Here is the American One-Sheet Movie Poster from Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Asphalt Jungle - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of The Asphalt Jungle, featuring director John Huston.
The Night of the Iguana - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here is a group of photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of John Huston's The Night of the Iguana (1964), showing Huston at work.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - Movie Posters
Here is a group of original release movie posters from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
Key Largo - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several behind-the-scenes photos taken during the shooting of Key Largo (1948), directed by John Huston.
The African Queen - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The African Queen (1951). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Red Badge of Courage - John Huston Cameo Still
Here is a still of director John Huston, in costume for a cameo in his film The Red Badge of Courage (1951).

Videos

Movie Clip

Maltese Falcon, The (1941) - I Like To Talk Detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) visits the San Francisco hotel suite of "the fat man" Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet), who refuses to explain his interest in the black bird, in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, 1941.
Maltese Falcon, The (1941) - Such A Considerable Expense Detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) in his first meeting with perfumed and mysterious Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre), inquiring about a bird, in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, 1941, from the Dashiell Hammett novel.
Maltese Falcon, The (1941) - A Guy Named Thursby Summoned from his bed at 2 a.m., San Francisco private eye Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart), with thus far friendly copper Polhaus (Ward Bond), at the scene of the murder of his partner Archer, written and directed by John Huston from the Dashiell Hammett novel, in The Maltese Falcon, 1941.
Maltese Falcon, The (1941) - Spade And Archer San Francisco detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) receives "Miss" O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor), soon joined by partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan), early in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon, 1941, from the Dashiell Hammett novel.
Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The (1938) - Some Slight Mental Aberration Loyal nurse Randolph (Gale Page) tries to keep up as her employer (Edward G. Robinson), who’s just informed her that he committed a series of big jewel heists, explains his reasoning, which is getting near science fiction, in the Warner Bros. crime drama The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, 1938.
Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The (1938) - You Make The Perfect Target It’s nowhere near clear what Edward G. Robinson’s angle is, but he’s the title character, at a society party, interrupting a burglary by Billy Wayne, Humphrey Bogart escaping, as hostess Mrs. Updyke (Georgia Caine) twitters, Anatole Litvak directing, in Warner Bros.’ The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, 1938.
Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The (1938) - The Guy's A Ghost Edward G. Robinson (title character, dabbling in jewel thievery to satisfy his scientific curiosity) has bluffed his way in to meet fence Jo Keller (Claire Trevor), surprised to find out she’s a girl, Maxie Rosenbloom her goon, Humphrey Bogart her cohort “Rocks,” in The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, 1938.
Chinatown (1974) - Open, She's No Good Atmospheric credits and the introduction of detective Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) with an aggrieved client (Burt Young), the opening of Roman Polanski's Chinatown, 1974, also starring Faye Dunaway and John Huston.
African Queen, The (1951) - Opening, German East Africa Opening titles and introduction of key characters Rose (Katharine Hepburn), "Brother" (Robert Morley), Alnut (Humphrey Bogart) and the boat called The African Queen, 1951, directed by John Huston.
African Queen, The (1951) - On Account Of The War Captain Charlie Alnut (Humphrey Bogart) has tea with missionaries Brother (Robert Morley) and Sister (Katharine Hepburn) where they discuss gastric noise and war, in John Huston's The African Queen, 1951.
African Queen, The (1951) - Skinny Old Maid! Rose (Katharine Hepburn) gets familiar with the phenomenon of Charlie (Humphrey Bogart) drinking, as he makes clear his disgust with her determination to sail on, in John Huston's The African Queen, 1951.
African Queen, The (1951) - Clean Habits A soliloquy for Charlie (Humphrey Bogart) after Rose (Katharine Hepburn) has dumped all his gin into the river, in John Huston's The African Queen, 1951.

Trailer

Chinatown (1974) -- (Original Trailer) A Los Angeles P-I (Jack Nicholson) unwittingly sets up an innocent man for murder, then joins his widow (Faye Dunaway) to unearth the corruption behind the crime in Chinatown (1974), produced by Robert Evans, directed by Roman Polanski.
Tentacles - (Original Trailer) A giant octopus attacks a seaside resort in Tentacles (1977) starring John Huston and Shelley Winters.
Maltese Falcon, The (1941) -- (Original Trailer) Humphrey Bogart plays Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941), possibly the greatest detective movie of all time.
Cardinal, The - (Original Trailer) A Boston priest deals with illicit love, racism and war as he rises in the church in Otto Preminger's The Cardinal (1963).
Annie - (Original Trailer) An orphan attracts the attention of a Wall Street tycoon and a con artist in John Huston's movie version of the Broadway hit Annie (1982).
African Queen, The - (Original Trailer) Humphrey Bogart won a Best Actor Oscar portraying a grizzled skipper who pilots missionary Katharine Hepburn aboard The African Queen (1951).
Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The - (Original Trailer) Paul Newman stars as the Law West of the Pecos in John Huston's The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972).
Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet - (Original Trailer) Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940) starring Edward G. Robinson, the true story of the German scientist who devoted his life to curing syphilis.
Unforgiven, The - (Original Trailer) Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster star in John Huston's western The Unforgiven (1960) about a rancher's adopted daughter torn between two worlds.
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison - (Original Trailer) A marine (Robert Mitchum) and a nun (Deborah Kerr) are shipwrecked on a Pacific Island in John Huston's Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957).
Juarez - (Original Trailer) Paul Muni and Bette Davis star in Juarez (1939), the true story of Mexico's great leader and his fight against Napoleon's empire
Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, The - (Original Trailer) A doctor (Edward G. Robinson) plots crimes so he can study criminal psychology in The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse (1938), directed by Anatole Litvak.

Family

John Marcellus Gore
Grandfather
Died in 1913.
Adelia Gore
Grandmother
Helped to raise Huston.
Walter Huston
Father
Actor. Born on April 6, 1884; married Huston's mother on December 31, 1904; divorced in 1912; later wed to vaudevillian Bayonne Whipple (from 1915 to 1931) and actress Ninette Sunderland (from 1931 until his death); acted in son's directorial debut "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) and later won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948); died on April 7, 1950.
Rhea Gore
Mother
Journalist. Born c. 1881; married Huston's father on December 31, 1904; divorced in 1912.
Tony Huston
Son
Director, screenwriter, former lawyer. Born on April 15, 1950; mother, Enrica Soma; acted in "The List of Adrian Messenger" (1963) and wrote screenplay for "The Dead" (1987).
Anjelica Huston
Daughter
Actor, director. Born on July 8, 1951; mother, Enrica Soma; debut in father's film, "Sinful Davey" (1969) at age 16; later directed by him in the disastrous "A Walk With Love and Death" (1969), "Prizzi's Honor" (1985), for which she earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and "The Dead" (1987).
Danny Huston
Son
Director, actor. Born on May 14, 1962; mother, Zoe Sallis; designed the main title sequence for Huston's "Under the Volcano" (1984), directed father in the 1990 direct-to-video release "Mr Corbett's Ghost" (shot in 1986) and helmed "Mr. North" (1988), produced and scripted by father.
Allegra Huston
Daughter
Producer, former book editor. Daughter of Enrica Soma and a titled Englishman, conceived during Soma's separation from Huston; after Soma's death, Huston raised her as his own child.
Pablo Huston
Son
Adopted.

Companions

Dorothy Harvey
Wife
High school sweetheart; married c. 1928; divorced in 1932; reportedly was an alcoholic.
Zita Johann
Companion
Actor. Had relationship in the 1930s.
Lesley Black
Wife
English; met in 1935; gave birth to stillborn daughter in 1939; divorced.
Olivia de Havilland
Companion
Actor. Had relationship in early 1940s; reunited in the 1950s after her divorce.
Marietta Tree
Companion
Socialite.
Evelyn Keyes
Wife
Actor. Married in 1946 in Las Vegas; divorced in 1950.
Enrica Soma
Wife
Born c. 1930; married from 1950 until her death in an auto accident in 1969; separated in 1962; gave birth to daughter Allegra (fathered by a titled Englishman) during separation; mother of Huston's two oldest children, Tony and Anjelica.
Suzanne Flon
Companion
Actor. Appeared in "Moulin Rouge".
Zoe Sallis
Companion
Actor. Involved in the 1960s; mother of Danny Huston.
Celeste Shane
Wife
Married in 1972; divorced in 1975.
Maricela Hernandez
Companion
Former housekeeper. Met c. 1974 when she was 23 years old; the film "The Dead" was dedicated to her.

Bibliography

"An Open Book"
John Huston, Alfred A. Knopf (1980)
"Fool"
John Huston
"John Huston's Filmmaking"
Lesley Brill

Notes

"The great screenwriter and director John Huston was also a memorable actor and talker. The rumbling, sonorous grandiloquence, the archly raised chin, the massive gaiety, with its suggestion of tricks or outright fraud--there were elements of a ripe, nineteenth-century theatricality in Huston's impish performances and echoes, as well, of florid, speechifying senators and tent preachers saving souls. Huston was not, apparently a very nice man; Polanski caught him at his most purely malevolent in "Chinatown", playing the wealthy and rapacious Noah Cross. But he was one beautiful charmer."--David Denby in his review of "White Hunter, Black Heart" in New York, October 1, 1990)

Awarded the Legion of Merit for bravery during WWII.