John Houseman


Actor, Producer

About

Also Known As
Jacques Haussmann
Birth Place
Romania
Born
September 22, 1902
Died
October 31, 1988
Cause of Death
Spinal Cancer

Biography

Widely regarded as one of the most respected innovators of the American stage, John Houseman also enjoyed tremendous success as a producer, screenwriter and, perhaps most remarkable of all, as a character actor in a prolific later career, begun at the age of 70. Forced out of his lucrative international grain business by the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Houseman found a creative outlet al...

Photos & Videos

Lust for Life - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
The Bad and the Beautiful - Complete Shooting Script
Moonfleet - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Family & Companions

Zita Johann
Wife
Actor. Married in 1929; divorced on September 12, 1933.
Joan Courtney
Wife
Married in 1950; mother of his sons.

Bibliography

"Unfinished Business: Memoirs, 1902-1908"
John Houseman (1988)
"Entertainers and the Entertained: Essays on Theater, Film and Television"
John Houseman (1986)
"Final Dress"
John Houseman, Simon & Schuster (1983)
"Front and Center"
John Houseman, Simon & Schuster (1979)

Notes

Houseman is described by Welles biographer Charles Higham as "the mooring tape for Welles' ballooning talent."

"Terror has always been a motivating force in my life. I work well under the stimulus of terror; in some cases, I may have even created my own terror."What motivates me now is fear of boredom, I suppose. I attempt, even at my age, to do something new. And it is for this reason that I was particualarly pleased to have the opportunity to work with Woody Allen" --John Houseman, quoted in press notes for "Another Woman"

Biography

Widely regarded as one of the most respected innovators of the American stage, John Houseman also enjoyed tremendous success as a producer, screenwriter and, perhaps most remarkable of all, as a character actor in a prolific later career, begun at the age of 70. Forced out of his lucrative international grain business by the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Houseman found a creative outlet alongside wunderkind Orson Welles at the Federal Theater Project. Frequently controversial productions produced and directed by Houseman and Welles included the 1935 "voodoo" version of "Macbeth" and the historic labor union musical "The Cradle Will Rock" in 1936. After forming the Mercury Theater Company - responsible for the infamous "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast in 1938 - with Welles, he followed the young auteur to Hollywood, where he made significant contributions to "Citizen Kane" (1941). A falling out over "Kane" brought an end to Houseman's relationship with the volatile Welles, although a successful career as a film producer kept him in the industry for more than 30 years. Then, just as he was about to retire, the 70-year-old Houseman became one of the most sought-after supporting actors in the years following his Academy Award-winning turn as a crusty, yet conscientious law professor in "The Paper Chase" (1973). Over the next 15 years, he would be seen in scores of feature films, television miniseries and commercial campaigns. In a variety of professional roles, Houseman made immeasurable contributions to the mediums of stage, film and television.

Born Jacques Haussman in Bucharest, Romania on Sept. 22, 1902, his mother was British, while his father was an Alsatian Jew of Romanian descent who owned a grain business. His father's substantial wealth and mother's background led him to be raised in the United Kingdom, where he was educated at Clifton College. After becoming a British citizen, he entered the family grain business as an international speculator, traveling first to Argentina and later immigrating to the United States in 1924. Initially holding a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade, he was rendered nearly destitute by the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Moving to New York City, Houseman took on what little work there was to be had writing for various magazines and translating German and French works for the stage. Houseman later had the tremendous good fortune to meet composer Virgil Thomson, who entrusted him to direct "Four Saints in Three Acts" (1934), an opera featuring an all-black cast and performing a libretto written by Gertrude Stein. Despite its success on Broadway and throughout the national tour that followed, it earned him the reputation as a maverick - a polite euphemism for troublemaker - and no mainstream offers were forthcoming.

In 1935, Houseman began a fruitful, albeit stormy creative partnership with the brash, enormously talented enfant terrible Orson Welles, then barely 20 years old. Ironically, the Depression that had destroyed Houseman's business led to many unique artistic opportunities, enabling the pair - under the auspices of President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration - to form the Negro Theater Project. Houseman and Welles made history that year when they presented a controversial version of "Macbeth," set in Haiti, with voodoo priestesses playing the roles of Shakespeare's weird sisters. Also established via the WPA's Federal Theater Project was a unit Housman and Welles dubbed Project 891, for which they mounted a successful production of Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" in 1936. Controversy struck the following year as Project 891 prepared for the premiere of Marck Blitzstein's proletarian musical "The Cradle Will Rock." Viewed as communistic and leftist by government officials, the production was essentially shut down and the cast barred from the theater. Undeterred, Houseman and Welles rented another venue nearby and after inviting hundreds of bystanders to join them, launched into an impromptu - and later legendary - performance of the musical. As acclaimed as the event was, it led to Houseman being fired from his position and Welles resigning immediately thereafter. It would not, however, be the end of their collaboration.

Emboldened by their critical success and newfound notoriety, Houseman and Welles went on to form the Mercury Theater Company in 1937. Of its many lauded productions, none was a notable as their modern dress interpretation of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," which drew clear parallels to contemporary socio-political themes. In 1938, they branched out with the immensely popular radio serial program "The Mercury Theater on the Air," which premiered with an adaption of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," featuring director Welles voicing the title role. The radio program achieved an almost mythical infamy with its 1938 broadcast of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds," which set off a nationwide panic after audiences who had tuned in to the program late mistook it for an actual news broadcast reporting on an alien invasion.

Far from disgracing Welles, the headline-grabbing debacle only enhanced his image as a young genius, and without hesitation, Houseman followed him on to his next adventure. That undertaking would prove to be nothing less than the motion picture long considered by many to be the greatest ever produced: the landmark film "Citizen Kane" (1941). Houseman, who while drawn to Welles' brilliance, had also seen firsthand the reckless, egocentric side of the young auteur and their previously strong relationship was by then showing signs of strain. Having worked closely with "Citizen Kane" screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz on structuring the tale and acting as a general advisor during pre-production, it was particularly galling to Houseman that he was given no official credit. Almost as grievous were Welles' somewhat exaggerated claims as to his own contribution to the screenplay, overshadowing Mankiewicz's incredible work. It was Houseman's public statements to that effect which infuriated the megalomaniacal Welles, driving a lifelong wedge between the two.

Houseman worked briefly as a vice president for David O. Selznick productions during this period until World War II broke out, at which point, among other endeavors, he went to work as the head of the Overseas Radio Division for the Office of War Information. He also provided uncredited writing on the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's "Saboteur" (1942), then received his first screenwriting credit for "Jane Eyre" (1944), which, ironically, starred Welles as Rochester. In addition to his ongoing film work, Houseman kept his hand in the theater, producing and directing such Broadway productions as "Lute Song" (1946) and "King Lear" (1950), as well as dozens of other works by Shakespeare, Molière, Chekhov and Shaw, both on and off-Broadway for more than 30 years. Houseman then embarked on an illustrious career as a film producer, collaborating with directors like Nicholas Ray for "On Dangerous Ground" (1951), several with Vincente Minnelli, including "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952), and up-and-coming filmmakers like John Frankenheimer and Sydney Pollack. Houseman earned his only producing Oscar nomination for Best Picture for Joseph L Mankiewicz's version of "Julius Caesar" (1953).

In 1956, against the counsel of friends and family, Houseman assumed the low-salaried position of artistic director for the new American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, CT. Subsequently, he served as artistic director of the Professional Theater Group at UCLA from 1959-1964 (which later evolved into the Mark Taper Forum Company) and the City Center Acting Company (1972-75), as well as producing director for the APA Repertory (1967-68). Having established the Drama Division of the prestigious Juilliard School - where he remained as director until 1976 - he also co-founded The Acting Company in 1972, a touring repertory troupe whose initial members included Kevin Kline, David Ogden Stiers and Patti LuPone. Houseman stayed on as artistic director until 1986, the same year the John Houseman Theatre on NYC's Theater Row was dedicated in his honor. In all, Houseman helped to establish nine theater companies during his lifetime.

The final chapter of Houseman's impressive career happened not by design, but by chance.Even as he contemplated retirement, the 70-year-old Houseman was approached by director James Bridges, a former assistant from his days with UCLA's Professional Theater Group, about appearing in his new film, a law school drama called "The Paper Chase" (1973). His performance as the intimidating, patrician law professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr. earned Houseman an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and led to his reprisal of the character on the television series of the same name for CBS and Showtime. Suddenly in great demand in front of the camera, the veteran producer-director also became the spokesman for the brokerage firm Smith-Barney for a series of ads in which he assured prospective clients that "They make money the old-fashioned way. they earn it." More supporting roles as authoritarian figures followed in films like the Robert Redford-Faye Dunaway conspiracy-thriller "Three Days of the Condor" (1975) and the James Caan vehicle "Rollerball" (1975), which envisioned a world where corporations had replaced elected governments and a brutal blood-sport became a substitute for global warfare.

On television, Houseman also played Winston Churchill in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "Truman at Potsdam" (NBC, 1976) and lent his imposing presence to an impressive array of miniseries, including "Captains and the Kings" (NBC, 1976) and "The Last Convertible" (NBC, 1979). He proved a favorite among horror filmmakers, including John Carpenter, who cast him as a teller of supernatural tales in "The Fog" (1980). The following year, he teamed with an all-star cast of elderly film legends that included Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Melvyn Douglas for an adaptation of novelist Peter Straub's macabre "Ghost Story" (1981). He showed a somewhat softer side in the recurring role of Grandpa Stratton on the Ricky Schroder sitcom "Silver Spoons" (NBC, 1982-87). Despite his failing health, Houseman worked constantly throughout his final year, appearing in two television miniseries and four feature films, including Woody Allen's "Another Woman" (1988) and the Michael J. Fox drama "Bright Lights, Big City" (1988). When at last he did succumb to the effects of the spinal cancer that had been plaguing him, Houseman died on Oct. 31, 1988 - the 50th anniversary of the "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. His final appearances on film, brief cameos in the comedies "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!" (1988) and "Scrooged" (1988), were released posthumously. John Houseman was 86 years old.

By Bryce Coleman

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
Self
Bright Lights, Big City (1988)
Another Woman (1988)
Scrooged (1988)
Himself
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
Himself
The Good Fight: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War (1984)
Supporter
Ghost Story (1981)
Bells (1980)
Dr Stanley Markowitz
My Bodyguard (1980)
Dobbs
The Fog (1980)
Gideon's Trumpet (1980)
Chief Justice
A Christmas Without Snow (1980)
The Babysitter (1980)
Wholly Moses! (1980)
Old Boyfriends (1979)
Dr Hoffman
The Cheap Detective (1978)
Truman at Potsdam (1976)
Winston Churchill
Circle (1976)
St. Ives (1976)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Mr. Wabash
Fear on Trial (1975)
Rollerball (1975)
I'm a Stranger Here Myself (1974)
The Paper Chase (1973)
Seven Days in May (1964)
Admiral Barnswell
Night Ambush (1958)

Writer (Feature Film)

Jane Eyre (1944)
Screenwriter
Citizen Kane (1941)
Contract Writer

Producer (Feature Film)

Choices of the Heart (1983)
Executive Producer
Gideon's Trumpet (1980)
Executive Producer
This Property Is Condemned (1966)
Producer
In the Cool of the Day (1963)
Producer
All Fall Down (1962)
Producer
Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
Producer
Lust for Life (1956)
Producer
Moonfleet (1955)
Producer
The Cobweb (1955)
Producer
Executive Suite (1954)
Producer
Her Twelve Men (1954)
Producer
Julius Caesar (1953)
Producer
The Bad and the Beautiful (1953)
Producer
Holiday for Sinners (1952)
Producer
On Dangerous Ground (1952)
Producer
The Company She Keeps (1951)
Producer
They Live by Night (1949)
Producer
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Producer
The Blue Dahlia (1946)
Producer
Miss Susie Slagle's (1946)
Associate Producer
The Unseen (1945)
Associate Producer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
Other
Scrooged (1988)
Other

Cast (Special)

Our Planet Tonight (1987)
Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist (1987)
Narrator
Virgil Thompson at 90 (1986)
The American Film Institute Salute to Lillian Gish (1984)
Performer
The Skin of Our Teeth (1983)
Hazard's People (1976)
John Hazard
Beyond the Horizon (1976)
Doctor Fawcett

Misc. Crew (Special)

IBM Presents Clarence Darrow Starring Henry Fonda (1974)
Artistic Advisor

Cast (Short)

DARKNESS INTO LIGHT (1956)
Himself

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

James Clavell's Noble House (1988)
Gore Vidal's Lincoln (1988)
A.D. (1985)
The Winds of War (1983)
Marco Polo (1982)
The French Atlantic Affair (1979)
The Last Convertible (1979)
Aspen (1977)
Washington: Behind Closed Doors (1977)
Captains and the Kings (1976)
Captains and the Kings Part 5 & 6 (1976)

Life Events

1920

At 18, won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, but his mother insisted he follow the career of his father as a grain merchant (date approximate)

1934

Directed Virgil Thomson's opera "Four Saints in Three Acts" with a libretto by Gertrude Stein; scored a hit on Broadway

1935

Formed the WPA's Negro Theater Project with Orson Welles; company produced the noteworthy 'Voodoo' "Macbeth"

1936

Established (with Welles) the Classical Theater (also known as Federal Theater Project 891), which folded after their controversial production of Marc Blitzstein's proletarian musical "The Cradle Will Rock"

1937

Co-founded Mercury Theater with Orson Welles; reportedly fell out over script credits for "Citizen Kane" (1941)

1938

Produced and acted in Welles' "Too Much Johnson", a feature film never released theatrically

1938

Collaborated with Welles and Howard Koch on the radio production of "War of the Worlds" that panicked the nation on Halloween night; died on the 50th anniversary of the radio broadcast

1941

Briefly served as vice president of David O. Selznick Productions

1941

Directed West Coast stage version of Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie", starring Ingrid Bergman

1941

Did uncredited work on the script for Welles' landmark "Citizen Kane"

1942

Did uncredited work on screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's "Saboteur"

1944

First screenplay credit, "Jane Eyre", directed by Robert Stevenson, starring Welles and Joan Fontaine

1945

Worked with director John Berry (an old Mercury Theater protege who had acted with him in "Too Much Johnson") on two movies, "Miss Susie Slagle's" (as associate producer) and "Tuesday in November" (as producer)

1946

Produced George Marshall's "The Blue Dahlia"

1947

Directed world stage premiere of Bertolt Brecht's "Galileo", starring Charles Laughton

1948

First association with director Nicholas Ray as producer of "They Live By Night"

1948

Produced Max Ophuls' "Letter to an Unknown Woman"

1951

Reteamed with Ray as producer of "On Dangerous Ground"

1952

First association with director Vincente Minnelli as producer of "The Bad and the Beautiful", starring Kirk Douglas

1953

Received Best Picture Oscar nomination as producer of Joseph L Mankiewicz's "Julius Caesar"

1954

Produced Robert Wise's "Executive Suite"; Wise had worked as an editor on "Citizen Kane"

1956

Served as Artisitc director of the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut

1956

Reteamed with Minnelli and Douglas, producing "Lust For Life"

1957

Acted in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's "Night Ambush"

1962

Fourth and last collaboration with Minnelli as producer of "Two Weeks in Another Town"; third picture with Douglas

1962

Produced Frankenheimer's feature "All Fall Down"

1964

Produced and wrote screenplay for Benjamin Jackson's "Voyage to America"

1964

Portrayed Admiral Barnswell in Frankenheimer's "Seven Days in May"; fourth and last picture with Douglas

1968

Established the Drama Division of NYC's Juilliard School; served as artistic director until 1976

1972

With Margot Harley, co-founded The Acting Company, a touring repertory group staffed mostly by Juilliard graduates (first company included future stars Kevin Kline, David Ogden Stiers and Patti LuPone), was artistic director until 1986

1973

Won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role as the imperious law school instructor Professor Kingsfield in "The Paper Chase"; hired for part by former UCLA assistant James Bridges

1975

Acted in "Rollerball" and "Three Days of the Condor"

1976

Portrayed Winston Churchill in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "Truman at Potsdam" (NBC)

1980

Executive produced and acted in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "Gideon's Trumpet" (CBS)

1983

Directed The Acting Company revival of "The Cradle Will Rock", starring LuPone

1983

Played Aaron Jastrow in the acclaimed ABC miniseries "The Winds of War"

1986

The John Houseman Theatre dedicated on NYC's 'Theater Row' (42nd Street)

1988

Portrayed Sir Geoffrey Allison in "James Clavell's Noble House" and General Winfield Scott in "Gore Vidal's Lincoln" (both NBC miniseries)

1988

Rounding out feature career, portrayed Marion's Father in Woody Allen's "Another Woman" and Mr. Vogel in "Bright Lights, Big City"; also played himself in "The Naked Gun--From the Files of the Police Squad!" and Richard Donner's "Scrooged"

Photo Collections

Lust for Life - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are several stills taken behind-the-scenes during production of Lust for Life (1956), starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Vincente Minnelli.
The Bad and the Beautiful - Complete Shooting Script
Here is a copy of the complete shooting script (141 pages) for MGM's The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), written by Charles Schnee and produced by John Houseman. This a version dated 4-17-52. Note that the original title was to be Tribute To a Bad Man.
Moonfleet - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a number of photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Moonfleet (1955), starring Stewart Granger, Viveca Lindfors, and George Sanders, and directed by Fritz Lang.

Videos

Movie Clip

Julius Caesar (1953) - Open, Senseless Things Stately opening and comments from tribunes Flavius (Michael Pate) and Marullus (George MacReady), from Joseph L. Mankiewiecz's 1953 MGM production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, starring Marlon Brando, John GIelgud, Louis Calhern and James Mason.
Julius Caesar (1953) - I Never Stood On Ceremony Calpurnia (Greer Garson) speaks at least one everlasting Shakespeare phrase, pleading with husband Caesar (Louis Calhern) to not go to the senate today, Decius (the "other" Brutus, John Hoyt) intruding, in the Joseph L. Mankiewicz and MGM 1953 version of Julius Caesar.
Julius Caesar (1953) - Not In Our Stars... On a balcony with a statue of Caesar, Cassius (John Gielgud) tempts Brutus (James Mason) with murderous ideas, in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1953 production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
They Live By Night (1949) - They're Thieves, Just Like Us Keechie (Cathy O'Donnell) fetches Bowie (Farley Granger), injured and left behind after the jailbreak, to his fellow thieves, her uncle Chickamaw (Howard da Silva) and T-Dub (Jay C. Flippen), and her own crook father (Will Wright), the first meeting of the principals, in Nicholas Ray's They Live by Night, 1949.
Two Weeks In Another Town (1962) - I Thought I Had It Made On a Rome-area beach after a night out with new girlfriend Veronica (Dahlia Lavi), movie star Jack (Kirk Douglas), fresh off three years in a sanitarium, reflects on his career, in Vincente Minnelli's Two Weeks In Another Town, 1962.
Lust For Life (1956) - What Do You Know About Pain? Amsterdam, 1881, failed painter Vincent Van Gogh (Kirk Douglas) visits his aunt and uncle (Isobel Elsom, Wilton Graff) demanding to see their daughter, his cousin, whom he loves, prompting an incident verified by the uncle, though forgotten by the artist, in Vincente Minnelli’s bio-pic Lust For Life, 1956.
Bad And The Beautiful, The (1953) - Doom Of The Cat Men Barry Sullivan narrating as young director Fred, about his rise along with producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) through the Hollywood ranks, echoes of the career of producer Val Lewton included, in Vincente Minnelli's The Bad And The Beautiful, 1953.
Fog, The (1980) - Open, Their Dark And Icy Death From producer and director and co-writers Debra Hill and John Carpenter, nice chilling ghost-story opening, with all of John Houseman’s performance, Ty Mitchell as young Andy listening, from The Fog, 1980, starring Adrienne Barbeau (then Mrs. Carpenter), Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh and Hal Holbrook.
Lust For Life (1956) - Painting Is For Painters! One take, fellow artist Gaugin (Anthony Quinn) has just joined Vincent Van Gogh (Kirk Douglas) in Arles, in southern France, painting always their topic, in Vincente Minnelli's Lust For Life, 1956.
Cobweb, The (1955) - I Am Sometimes A Little Dictatorial Lively meeting of inmates at the pricey Midwestern psychiatric clinic, chaired by Holcomb (Edgar Stehli), bothered by Oscar Levant, Jan Arvan, Ruth Clifford and Jarma Lewis, Richard Widmark the doctor arriving, Lauren Bacall seems to be on staff, Susan Strasberg and John Kerr backing an initiative, early in Vincente Minnelli’s The Cobweb, 1955.
Cobweb, The (1955) - I'm Phobic Inmates dining at the Midwestern psychiatric hospital (noted at the time for its resemblance to the Menninger Clinic in Kansas), Stevie (John Kerr) celebrating because he’s been chosen for an art project, and previously stable Susie (Susan Strasberg) rattled by his suggestion, in Vincente Minnelli’s The Cobweb, 1955.
Cobweb, The (1955) - Sprung Up Like A Toadstool! Gloria Grahame as Karen, lonely wife of one doctor at the psychiatric clinic, on the phone from a local concert with administrator Vicky (Lillian Gish) fighting about drapes, then sharing with her husband’s suave French senior colleague “Dev” (Charles Boyer), in Vincente Minnelli’s The Cobweb, 1955.

Trailer

They Live By Night (1949) -- (Original Trailer) RKO’s trailer is not far off the mark for director Nicholas Ray’s eventually-acclaimed debut feature, They Live By Night, starring Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell.
This Property Is Condemned - (Original Trailer) A small-town girl (Natalie Wood) fights her mother's opposition when she falls for a big-city businessman (Robert Redford) in This Property Is Condemned (1966).
Julius Caesar - (Re-issue Trailer) Marlon Brando heads an all-star cast in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (1953).
Her Twelve Men - (Original Trailer) A dedicated teacher turns around the troublesome students at a boy's school in Her Twelve Men (1954) starring Greer Garson.
Citizen Kane -- (Original Trailer) The investigation of a publishing tycoon's dying words reveals conflicting stories about his life in this famous trailer for Citizen Kane (1941).
Two Weeks in Another Town - (Original Trailer) A recovering alcoholic film director tries for a comeback in Rome in Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) starring Kirk Douglas & Edward G. Robinson.
All Fall Down - (Original Trailer) A young drifter's romance with an older woman is threatened by his possessive mother in All Fall Down (1962) starring Warren Beatty and Eva Marie Saint.
In The Cool Of The Day - (Original Trailer) The efforts of a man (Peter Finch) to save his friend's marriage lead to infidelity In The Cool Of The Day (1963).
Moonfleet - (Original Trailer) A British buccaneer (Stewart Granger) is torn among three seductive women in Fritz Lang's Moonfleet (1955).
On Dangerous Ground - (Original Trailer) A tough cop sent to help in a mountain manhunt falls for the quarry's blind sister in On Dangerous Ground (1952) starring Robert Ryan.
Rollerball - (Original Trailer) The star of a bloodthirsty future sport tries to clean up the game before it kills him in Rollerball (1975) starring James Caan.
Jane Eyre (1944) - (Original Trailer) A governess (Joan Fontaine) at a remote estate falls in love with her brooding employer (Orson Welles) in Jane Eyre (1944).

Family

John Michael Houseman
Son
Anthropologist. Living in Paris at time of father's death; mother, Joan Courtney.
Charles Sebastian Houseman
Son
Artist. Living in Sunapee, New Mexico at time of father's death; mother, Joan Courtney.

Companions

Zita Johann
Wife
Actor. Married in 1929; divorced on September 12, 1933.
Joan Courtney
Wife
Married in 1950; mother of his sons.

Bibliography

"Unfinished Business: Memoirs, 1902-1908"
John Houseman (1988)
"Entertainers and the Entertained: Essays on Theater, Film and Television"
John Houseman (1986)
"Final Dress"
John Houseman, Simon & Schuster (1983)
"Front and Center"
John Houseman, Simon & Schuster (1979)
"Run-Through: A Memoir"
John Houseman, Simon & Schuster (1972)

Notes

Houseman is described by Welles biographer Charles Higham as "the mooring tape for Welles' ballooning talent."

"Terror has always been a motivating force in my life. I work well under the stimulus of terror; in some cases, I may have even created my own terror."What motivates me now is fear of boredom, I suppose. I attempt, even at my age, to do something new. And it is for this reason that I was particualarly pleased to have the opportunity to work with Woody Allen" --John Houseman, quoted in press notes for "Another Woman"

"There's not a long list of regrets. I've been so very lucky. Things have fallen so consistently into my open mouth. There's nothing I wish I'd done."Anything I'm proud of or pleased with is the mass stuff I was able to add up because of my longevity. But if God sent down word that I could do just one thing, I'm sure I'd gravitate back to the theater." --John Houseman, a 1984 quote recalled at the time of his death in The New York Times, November 1, 1998.

"Almost every major theater in America is run by a Houseman protege. Before there was Kingsfield, there was John Houseman. He was the Kingsfield to many of the actors, producers, directors on the American stage today." --James Bridges (director of "The Paper Chase") to The New York Times, November 1, 1988.