Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


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George Cukor

George Cukor

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives." Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 199-201. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 163-172. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.

Cukor was fired as director of Gone with the Wind (1939) only a month before The Women (1939) was scheduled to begin filming. Producer Hunt Stromberg enlisted Cukor's services immediately upon his sudden availability.

Described by British actor Leslie Phillips as "an absolute shit" in an interview with a local English magazine (in promotion for the film Venus (2006/I)). He said that Cukor "wouldn't listen to anybody", and that Gene Kelly had come up to him and said "Look, if you suggest anything he will take your balls off. So you tell me what your ideas are and I'll sell it to him.".

Did a few days work as intermediate director on The Wizard of Oz (1939) (although he never actually filmed any scenes) after original director Richard Thorpe had been dismissed. Victor Fleming was eventually hired to direct the picture. Coincidentally, Cukor's next film, Gone with the Wind (1939), also went on to be directed by Fleming after Cukor was fired due to disagreements with the film's producer, David O. Selznick.



Directed 20 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Basil Rathbone, Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, James Stewart, Katharine Hepburn, Ruth Hussey, Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Angela Lansbury, Ronald Colman, Deborah Kerr, Judy Holliday, James Mason, Judy Garland, Anthony Quinn, Anna Magnani, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Gladys Cooper and Maggie Smith. Stewart, Bergman, Colman, Holliday, and Harrison won Oscars for their performances in Cukor's movies.

Enjoyed a successful working partnership with Katharine Hepburn, directing her in ten films over a period of 47 years: A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Little Women (1933), Sylvia Scarlett (1935), Holiday (1938), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Keeper of the Flame (1942), Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), Love Among the Ruins (1975) (TV), The Corn Is Green (1979) (TV).

Godfather of Mia Farrow .

He did not make a musical, or fully direct a film in color, until A Star Is Born (1954).

He was famous as a sophisticated, witty personality but was also in the habit (mainly to be naughty) of blurting out unexpected profanities.

He was famous for the parties he threw later in life for large groups of directors, many parties being attended by other directing legends such as Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Luis Buñuel, and George Stevens.

He was largely responsible for the ultimate look of the characters in the film The Wizard of Oz (1939). Richard Thorpe, the film's first director, had decided on how the makeup should look, and had made some rather catastrophic decisions (see Buddy Ebsen). He was eventually fired, and during a stopover at the film's set, Cukor gave some directorial suggestions (such as removing Judy Garland's blonde wig), which ultimately were used in the finished film.

He was rather heavy set when he first began directing. In fact, he looked very much like producer David O. Selznick physically. In later years, he lost weight and much of his hair.

He was replaced as director of Gone with the Wind (1939) because of constant disagreements with producer David O. Selznick over the script and direction (not as rumour had it because Clark Gable considered him better suited as a so-called woman's director).

In 1968, he accepted the Oscar for best actress in a leading role on behalf of Katharine Hepburn, who wasn't present at the ceremony.

Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Garden of Honor, unmarked. (Private area. Not accessible to the general public). Frances Goldwyn [Frances Howard], wife of mogul Samuel Goldwyn, is buried next to Cukor at her request because of her long, but unrequited love for him.

Interviewed in Peter Bogdanovich's "Who the Devil Made It: Conversations With Robert Aldrich, George Cukor, Allan Dwan, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Chuck Jones, Fritz Lang, Joseph H. Lewis, Sidney Lumet, Leo McCarey, Otto Preminger, Don Siegel, Josef von Sternberg, Frank Tashlin, Edgar G. Ulmer, Raoul Walsh." NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.

Portrayed by Martin Ferrero in Gods and Monsters (1998).

Tried unsuccessfully to launch a big movie project starring Maggie Smith as complex and troubled author Virginia Woolf.

Was original choice to direct Lady L (1965).

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