John Garfield


Actor
John Garfield

About

Also Known As
Jacob Julius Garfinkle, Julie Garfield, Jules Garfield
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
March 04, 1913
Died
May 21, 1952
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

This member of the Group Theater entered films in 1938, becoming an instant star with his performance in "Four Daughters" and brought a fiery intensity to a number of memorable roles over the next 15 years. Garfield's background as a slum-raised child of immigrants helped contribute to his image as an anti-hero and he excelled at playing tough urban figures in socially conscious dramas...

Photos & Videos

Nobody Lives Forever - Wardrobe Stills
Between Two Worlds - Wardrobe Still
Humoresque - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Roberta Mann
Wife
Actor. Mother of Garfield's three children; married from 1932 until his death; separated in 1943; reconciled in 1945 after the death of daughter Kathryn; separated in May 1952.

Bibliography

"John Garfield: The Illustrated Career in Films and On Stage"
Patrick J McGrath, McFarland (1993)
"John Garfield"
James Beaver (1978)

Notes

While a number of sources claim that Garfield made his first film appearance in a bit part in 1933's "Footlight Parade", this is widely believed to be a fallacy.

Garfield was portrayed by Bruce Ornstein in the 1993 TV movie "Will There Really Be a Morning".

Biography

This member of the Group Theater entered films in 1938, becoming an instant star with his performance in "Four Daughters" and brought a fiery intensity to a number of memorable roles over the next 15 years. Garfield's background as a slum-raised child of immigrants helped contribute to his image as an anti-hero and he excelled at playing tough urban figures in socially conscious dramas such as "Body and Soul" (1947) and "Force of Evil" (1948). Both of these films were produced by Enterprise Productions, which Garfield co-founded in an attempt to encourage work by humanist artists. The former earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his turn as the boxer who will do anything to be champion.

Long before there was Brando--who ironically only won the role of Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Broadway after producer Irene Mayer Selznick and Garfield could not come to terms--and long before there was Pacino and De Niro, there was Garfield. He is said to have been the first student of "The Method" to succeed in Hollywood, and in so doing changed the face not just of American acting, but the standard of film acting as well. Garfield was more than just an actor who played defiant rebels from the wrong side of the tracks. His natural style brought the internal rhythms and emotions of a character to the fore. While Edward G Robinson and Paul Muni had played the first tier of such characters on screen--and have been rightly heralded as two of the greatest American actors of all time--Garfield's interpretation of the same sort of anti-heroes could break through sans expressionistic lighting and sound and was cloaked in a sexual energy that neither Robinson nor Muni had. Even Joan Crawford succumbed to him in "Humoresque" (1946). He burnt up the celluloid with Lana Turner as lovers who murder her husband in "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1947). Even when subdued, Garfield's appeal threatened to steal the picture, as in "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), in which he had the supporting role of Gregory Peck's Jewish buddy, a man not sure he has fought in World War II for an America that wants him. The more sedate Peck may have been the unquestioned star, but he was no match for Garfield's seething manliness.

Some critics have claimed that Garfield gave stiff performances, and while that point is debatable, his virility and unpolished charm saved many a film from becoming merely a programmer. He is also remembered for such roles as Porfirio Diaz in "Juarez" (1939) and as the brash seaman trying to escape the tyranny of Edward G Robinson in "Sea Wolf" (1941). In "Destination Tokyo" (1944), Garfield's raw sexual energy clashed head on with Cary Grant's more polished variety and helped to give Grant a forum to stretch as an actor. Garfield credits also included Michael Curtiz's "Breaking Point" (1950), an acclaimed remake of Howard Hawks' "To Have and to Have Not" (1944).

Garfield is also legendary for his stage portrayals. He rose to prominence in 1935 based on his work in two Clifford Odets plays, "Waiting for Lefty" and "Awake and Sing", both directed for The Group Theatre by Harold Clurman. Clurman also directed in Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy" (1937). Although the role was written for Garfield by Odets, he was cast in a supporting role instead and Luther Adler played Joe Bonaparte, the music-minded young man who becomes a prize fighter (Joe was played by William Holden in the 1939 film version). Not being offered the lead role in the stage production of "Golden Boy" resulted in Garfield's eventual break with the Group Theatre and he sought opportunities in Hollywood where he eventually signed a contract with Warner Bros. The actor would later return to the stage in the late 40s and early 50s, delivering acclaimed work in "The Big Knife" (1949) and "Peer Gynt" (1951), both directed by The Group Theatre co-founder Lee Strasberg. His final film, directed by John Berry, was He Ran All the Way (1951), a film noir that co-starred Shelley Winters. The heart attack which caused his death was considered to have been partially triggered by his blacklisting in the 1950s for refusing to name names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. His late son David, who also called himself John Garfield Jr, and his daughter Julie were also actors. Julie Garfield currently teaches acting at T. Schreiber Studio and coaches privately.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Himself
He Ran All the Way (1951)
Nick Robey
Under My Skin (1950)
Dan Butler
The Breaking Point (1950)
Harry Morgan
We Were Strangers (1949)
Tony Fenner
Force of Evil (1949)
Joe Morse
Jigsaw (1949)
Man with newspaper
Gentleman's Agreement (1948)
Dave Goldman
Humoresque (1947)
Paul Boray
Body and Soul (1947)
Charley Davis
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
Man at bar
Anni Difficili (1947)
Narration
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Frank Chambers
Nobody Lives Forever (1946)
Nick Blake
Pride of the Marines (1945)
Al Schmid
Destination Tokyo (1944)
Wolf
Between Two Worlds (1944)
Tom Prior
Hollywood Canteen (1944)
Air Force (1943)
Aerial gunner [Joe Winocki]
Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
Himself
The Fallen Sparrow (1943)
John "Kit" McKitrick
Tortilla Flat (1942)
Danny [Alvarez]
Out of the Fog (1941)
Harold Goff
Dangerously They Live (1941)
Dr. Michael Lewis
The Sea Wolf (1941)
George Leach
Flowing Gold (1940)
Johnny Blake
East of the River (1940)
Joe Lorenzo
Saturday's Children (1940)
Rims Rosson
Castle on the Hudson (1940)
Tommy Gordon
Juarez (1939)
Porfirio Diaz
Daughters Courageous (1939)
Gabriel Lopez
Dust Be My Destiny (1939)
Joe Bell
They Made Me a Criminal (1939)
Johnnie [Bradfield]
Blackwell's Island (1939)
Tim Haydon
Four Wives (1939)
Mickey Borden
Four Daughters (1938)
Mickey Bordon

Editing (Feature Film)

The Pussycat Preacher (2008)
Assistant Editor

Sound (Feature Film)

Jimmy Hollywood (1994)
Audio

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988)
Other

Cast (Short)

Swingtime in the Movies (1938)
Himself

Misc. Crew (Short)

John Garfield (1962)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1935

Made NYC stage debut in Clifford dets' "Waiting for Lefty"

1935

Starred in Odets' "Awake and Sing" on New York stage

1937

Firmed stage stardom by starring in "Having a Wonderful Time"

1937

Left cast of "Having a Wonderful Time" to appear in Group Theater production of "Golden Boy"; although Clifford Odets had written the leading role with him in mind, director Harold Clurman cast Luther Adler as Joe Bonaparte; instead played supporting role of a cab driver; left production when Warner Bros. offered a contract

1938

First feature film as actor, "Four Daughters"; received Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor

1941

Played George Leach in "The Sea Wolf"

1946

Left Warner Bros.

1946

Starred in original version of "The Postman Always Rings Twice"

1946

Was producer Irene Mayer Selznick's first choice to play Stanley Kowalski in the Broadway premiere of "A Streetcar Named Desire"; lost role because he would only commit to a four-month run in the play and he demanded first refusal of the film version

1947

Had signature role in "Body and Soul"; played Jewish American buddy of Gregory Peck in "Gentleman's Agreement"

1951

Last film, "He Ran All the Way"

1951

Starred as "Peer Gynt" in stage production directed by Lee Strasberg

1952

Acted in stage revival of "Golden Boy"

Photo Collections

Nobody Lives Forever - Wardrobe Stills
Here are several wardrobe stills taken for Warner Bros' Nobody Lives Forever (1946), starring John Garfield. Such test stills were taken prior to principal photography to approve the look and design of costumes.
Between Two Worlds - Wardrobe Still
Here is a wardrobe still taken of John Garfield in Between Two Worlds (1944). Such photos were taken in advance of filming, to test and approve the look of the design.
Humoresque - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills from MGM's Humoresque (1946), starring Joan Crawford and John Garfield. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Tortilla Flat - Kapralik Trade Ad
Here is a trade ad for MGM's Tortilla Flat (1942), starring Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr. The art is by mixed-media caricaturist Jaques Kapralik. Trade Ads were placed by studios in industry magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.
Pride of the Marines - Movie Poster
Pride of the Marines - Movie Poster
Gentleman's Agreement - Movie Poster
Gentleman's Agreement - Movie Poster
The Sea Wolf - Wardrobe Stills
The Sea Wolf - Wardrobe Stills
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) - Publicity Stills
Here are some Publicity Stills from The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Postman Always Rings Twice - Movie Posters
Here is a group of American movie posters from The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), starring Lana Turner and John Garfield.
The Postman Always Rings Twice - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several behind-the-scenes photos taken during the shooting of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). Look for director Tay Garnett and stars Lana Turner, John Garfield, and Cecil Kellaway.
Air Force - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from Warner Bros' Air Force (1943), starring John Garfield and Gig Young.
We Were Strangers - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Columbia Pictures' We Were Strangers (1949), starring John Garfield and Jennifer Jones. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
They Made Me a Criminal - Movie Posters
Here are a variety of original-release movie posters from Warner Bros' They Made Me a Criminal (1939), starring John Garfield, Ann Sheridan, and the Dead End Kids.
Force of Evil - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release movie posters for Force of Evil (1948), starring John Garfield.
Tortilla Flat - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for MGM's Tortilla Flat (1942), starring Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, and John Garfield. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) - Blues In The Night, John Garfield Dinah Shore has just opened with the the title song, as radio host Don Wilson helps her segue to top-billed Eddie Cantor and the first big cameo, John Garfield (who co-founded the armed services pro-bono entertainment club the Hollywood Canteen, to which all the stars donated their salaries), with the Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer tune, in one of the funniest bits in the bulky Warner Bros. wartime propaganda showcase, Thank Your Lucky Stars, 1943.
Breaking Point, The (1952) - Sporting Blood Fishing boat captain Harry (John Garfield), ducking hustler Duncan (Wallace Ford), finds first the girlfriend (Patricia Neal), then his fare (Ralph Dummke), in a Mexican bar, in The Breaking Point, 1952, from Hemingway's To Have And Have Not.
Nobody Lives Forever (1946) - Mountains Of The Moon We've just left John Garfield as WWII vet and accomplished con artist Nick on a train, having reclaimed his nest-egg in New York, headed west to see what his old mentor Pop (Walter Brennan) is up to, which is more of a street hustle, Wallace Scott his mark, Jean Negulesco directing, from a W.R. Burnett novel, in Nobody Lives Forever, 1946.
Gentleman's Agreement (1948) -- I Don't Care About The Jews Much talked about but just introduced Dave (John Garfield), a lifelong Jewish pal of writer Phil (Gregory Peck), now in New York after a tour abroad, hears about his friend's unorthodox approach to his assignment, Anne Revere the mom, in Gentleman's Agreement, 1948.
Breaking Point, The (1952) - Chinese It Talks Stiffed by his charter fare in Mexico, captain Harry (John Garfield) takes up Hannagan (Wallace Ford) on an offer to talk to a smuggler (Victor Sen Yung), in The Breaking Point, 1952, Michael Curtiz directing, from Hemingway's To Have And Have Not.
Breaking Point, The (1952) - You Know How It Is John Garfield narrating the opening to his second-to-last film, as "Harry Morgan," in the second and more faithful version of Hemingway's To Have And Have Not, Phyllis Thaxter his wife, in The Breaking Point, 1950.
Saturday's Children (1940) - We Do A Large South American Trade Bobby (Anne Shirley) still on her first day at the shipping firm where her dad got her a job, as new pal Gertrude (Dennie Moore) finagles a second encounter for her with eligible colleague and would-be inventor “Rims” (John Garfield), early in Saturday’s Children, 1940, from a Maxwell Anderson play.
Destination Tokyo (1943) - I Never Seen A Doll On A Submarine Officers under command of Captain Cassidy (Cary Grant) take the U.S.S. Copperfin out, crewmen Tin Can (Dane Clark), Mike (Tom Tully), Cookie (Alan Hale) and Wolf (John Garfield) introduced, in Delmer Daves' Destination Tokyo, 1943.
Destination Tokyo (1943) - Jap Float Zeroes Surfaced in the Aleutians to pick up Raymond (John Ridgely), Cassidy (Cary Grant) in command as Japanese planes strike, Wolf (John Garfield) and Mike (Tom Tully) among the defenders, impressive action in Destination Tokyo, 1943.
Destination Tokyo (1943) - Join Us In Holding Our Breath The climax of a lengthy suspense sequence, Cary Grant as the steely Captain Cassidy guides the U.S.S. Copperfin into Tokyo Bay, through a mine-field, in the draught of a Japanese cruiser, keeping silent, John Ridgely, Warner Anderson, John Alvin among the crew, in DestinationTokyo, 1943.
Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1946) - Get That Blonde Out Of My System The brief entire brilliant performance by Audrey Totter, herself usually the blonde, as Madge (the Anjelica Huston part in the 1982 Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange and Bob Rafelson remake), just the gal to distract John Garfield (as Frank) from wife Lana Turner (in her landmark performance as waitress, wife and murderous adulteress Cora), who’s left on the train to visit her ailing mother, Hume Cronyn their friendly lawyer, in The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1946.
Hollywood Canteen (1944) - Kiss Giver-Outer In Bert Glennon's camera, Joan Leslie surely never looked prettier, as Bette Davis, "president" of the operation, and John Garfield, a leading volunteer, bend the rules so she can give a smooch to smitten G.I. "Slim" (Robert Hutton), in the Warner Bros' tale about the Hollywood Canteen, 1944.

Trailer

Hollywood Canteen -- (Original Trailer) Half of Hollywood pitches in to help a serviceman and a starlet find love at the Hollywood Canteen (1944)
Saturday's Children - (Original Trailer) A young inventor's new marriage is jeopardized by financial problems. Starring John Garfield.
Four Daughters - (Original Trailer) A small-town family's peaceful life is shattered when one daughter falls for a rebellious musician. Starring Claude Rains and John Garfield, directed by Michael Curtiz.
Gentleman's Agreement - (Academy Award trailer) Three Academy Awards went to Gentleman's Agreement (1947) an exposé of American anti-semitism starring Gregory Peck and John Garfield, directed by Elia Kazan.
Daughters Courageous - (Original Trailer) A father (Claude Rains) returns to the family he left years earlier and tries to solve their problems. Co-starring John Garfield.
Daisy Kenyon - (Original Trailer) On the rebound from a married man, Joan Crawford marries a veteran, just as her lover becomes available in Otto Preminger's Daisy Kenyon (1947).
Castle on the Hudson - (Original Trailer) A hardened crook (John Garfield) vs. a reform-minded warden in a remake of 20,000 Years In Sing Sing, Castle on the Hudson (1940).
Blackwell's Island - (Original Trailer) In order to expose a mobster, reporter John Garfield has himself sent to the prison on Blackwell's Island (1939).
Tortilla Flat - (Original Trailer) Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr and John Garfield star in Tortilla Flat (1942), based on the novel by John Steinbeck.
Dangerously They Live - (Original Trailer) Doctor John Garfield discovers a delusional patient convinced Nazis are chasing her isn't so crazy after all in Dangerously They Live (1941).
They Made Me a Criminal - (Original Trailer) A young boxer (John Garfield) goes on the run when he's accused of murdering a reporter in They Made Me a Criminal (1939).
Air Force - (Original Trailer) A bomber crew sees World War in action over the Pacific in Air Force (1943), directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Garfield and Gig Young.

Hosted Intro

Promo

Family

Jacob Garfinkle
Father
Tailor. Remarried after the death of Garfield's mother.
Hannah Garfinkle
Mother
Died c. 1920.
Max Garfinkle
Brother
After father's second marriage, sent to live with other relatives.
Kathryn Garfield
Daughter
Born in 1938; died of asthma in 1945.
David Garfield
Son
Actor. Born in 1942; committed suicide in 1994.
Julie Garfield
Daughter
Actor. Born on January 10, 1946.

Companions

Roberta Mann
Wife
Actor. Mother of Garfield's three children; married from 1932 until his death; separated in 1943; reconciled in 1945 after the death of daughter Kathryn; separated in May 1952.

Bibliography

"John Garfield: The Illustrated Career in Films and On Stage"
Patrick J McGrath, McFarland (1993)
"John Garfield"
James Beaver (1978)

Notes

While a number of sources claim that Garfield made his first film appearance in a bit part in 1933's "Footlight Parade", this is widely believed to be a fallacy.

Garfield was portrayed by Bruce Ornstein in the 1993 TV movie "Will There Really Be a Morning".