Mini Tribute: Garson Kanin at work

Born November 24, in 1912, Director/Writer
Garson Kanin

Garson Kanin started his show biz career as a musician, comedian and stage actor, making his Broadway debut in 1933 in the drama Little Ol’Boy. He became assistant to Broadway director George Abbot, and in a few short years, Kanin was writing and directing for Broadway. In 1946, Kanin’s play, Born Yesterday (written and directed/staged by Kanin), premiered at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway starring none other than Judy Holliday as Billie Dawn. It had a hugely successful run through the end of 1949 (first at the Lyceum, then at the Henry Miller Theater). Other notable Broadway shows directed by Kanin include The Diary of Anne Frank (1955-1957), A Hole in the Head (1957), Do Re Mi (1960-1962), Sunday in New York (1961-1962), and Funny Girl (1964-1967) (starring Barbra Streisand of course!).

But that’s not all…

Kanin also had a successful film career as both a writer and director! He directed Tom, Dick and Harry, Bachelor Mother, They Knew What They Wanted — and my personal favorite, My Favorite Wife… He wrote the screenplay for It Should Happen to You, and co-wrote the screenplays, with wife Ruth Gordon, for Adam’s Rib, Pat and Mike, The Marrying Kind and A Double Life

So, without further adieu, here are some pictures of Garson Kanin ‘at work’…

David Niven with Garson Kanin and Ginger Rogers on the set of Bachelor MotherDavid Niven with Garson Kanin (director and uncredited writer) and Ginger Rogers on the set of Bachelor Mother, 1939

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Ginger Rogers, Garson Kanin (director) and Pandro S Berman on the set of Bachelor MotherGinger Rogers, Garson Kanin and Pandro S Berman (production manager) on the set of Bachelor Mother

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Director Garson Kanin, Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Granville Bates in a game of jacks in between takes of My Favorite Wife, 1940 600pxCary Grant, Garson Kanin (director and uncredited writer), Irene Dunne and Granville Bates in a game of jacks in between takes of My Favorite Wife, 1940

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 Dir. Garson Kanin (L) w. anxious actors Carole Lombard & Charles Laughton as they view a screening of their movie They Knew What They Wanted at RKO Studios.Garson Kanin (director) with Carole Lombard and Charles Laughton as they view a screening of  They Knew What They Wanted, 1940, at RKO Studios

"We were all great pals": MGM publicity photo, at the time of  Pat and Mike,  with (from left) Spencer Tracy, Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin, and Katharine Hepburn. (Photo: British Film Institute)Spencer Tracy, Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin (writer), and Katharine Hepburn, MGM publicity photo during the time of Pat and Mike, 1952.

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Some of my favorite movies! How about you?

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

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