Job Film director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1913-1980
Top Roles Himself, Cameo Appearance, Farmer Yelling 'Let It Go!', Himself, Extra
Top GenresDrama, Silent Films, Romance, Comedy, Western, Adventure
Top TopicsBook-Based, Romance (Drama), Marriage
Top Collaborators , , ,
Shares birthday with James Dean, Jack Lemmon, Betty Field  see more..

King Vidor Overview:

Legendary director, King Vidor, was born King Wallis Vidor on Feb 8, 1894 in Galveston, TX. Vidor died at the age of 88 on Nov 1, 1982 in Paso Robles, CA and was cremated and his ashes scattered at his ranch in Paso Robles CA.


There are some writers who believe that King Vidor is Hollywood's greatest director. Certainly, up to 1945, he gave them plenty of evidence to support their case. Vidor's themes deal with man's heartbreak, and sometimes, triumph, in waging a lone battle against the enemy, the elements, society, or even life itself.

Vidor was a projectionist and freelance newsreel cameraman before going to Hollywood in 1915. He struggled on for four years as script clerk, extra and (unsuccessful) writer, before breaking through as director by making two-reelers and a couple of films for a Christian Science consortium. He also directed several films for his own shoestring studio, but his career was greatly boosted by his tactful handling of veteran actress Laurette Taylor in Peg o' My Heart, and MGM hired the fledgling director without further ado.

Vidor rewarded MGM with one of the great war films of the silent era, The Big Parade, memorable for its depiction of the confusion of battle (especially in a scene in a wood) and the despair of the ordinary man and woman involved. Vidor directed its star, John Gilbert, twice more, in La Boheme (with a dominant Lillian Gish) and Bardelys the Magnificent. The second of these films anticipated the last of Vidor's great silent successes, The Crowd, not only in its theme, but in that they have the same leading lady, Eleanor Boardman (soon to become the second Mrs. Vidor).

Some of Vidor's other successful films were Hallelujah, a rare all-negro picture, and The Champ (1931) starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper. Vidor's most successful films of the late 1930s were his remake of the epic weepie Stella Dallas with a finely-shaded performance from Barbara Stanwyck, and the British-made The Citadel with Robert Donat as the doctor fighting poor conditions but almost losing his way in life. In 1979 Vidor was awarded an honorary Oscar, having missed the real thing on several previous occasions.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Film Directors).



Although Vidor was nominated for five Oscars, he never won a competitive Academy Award. However he won one Honorary Oscar Award in 1978 for his incomparable achievements as a cinematic creator and innovator .

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1927/28Best DirectorThe Crowd (1928)N/ANominated
1929/30Best DirectorHallelujah (1929)N/ANominated
1931/32Best DirectorThe Champ (1931)N/ANominated
1938Best DirectorThe Citadel (1938)N/ANominated
1956Best DirectorWar and Peace (1965)N/ANominated

Academy Awards (Honorary Oscars)

1978Honorary Awardfor his incomparable achievements as a cinematic creator and innovator


He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

BlogHub Articles:

Street Scene (1931): and Sylvia Sidney

By 4 Star Film Fan on Apr 26, 2022 From 4 Star Films

Film at its finest is able to use images to leave an indelible impression on an audience. ’s Street Scene opens with a telling montage. Kids being sprayed by a hose in a street. A slab of ice being carried off by a worker. A man swatting gnats away from his horse. A dog sprawled out ... Read full article

The ‘Other King of Hollywood”

By Terry on Jul 3, 2018 From Stardust and Shadows

The style of Director has fascinated in the way he handles story and actors. Vidor had? a long career beginning in 1913 all the way up to 1980 in a? variety of? genres yet always with a way of making actors and story fit well against a large backdrop such as? modern society or rural life.... Read full article

Retro Book Review--A Tree is a Tree, The Autobiography of

By KC on Dec 2, 2014 From Classic Movies

A Tree is a Tree Longmans, Green and Co., UK, 1954 (Originally published in the US, 1952) I've never been able to understand why remains an admired, but still strangely unsung director. His films are legendary: The Big Parade (1925), The Crowd (1928), Hallelujah (1929), The C... Read full article

The Wedding Night (, 1935)

By Judy on Oct 6, 2012 From Movie Classics

Gary Cooper and Anna Sten I’ve been meaning to write something about this little-known but powerful melodrama directed by , which was made under the Hays Code, but feels like a pre-Code in its sympathetic portrayal of an adulterous passion. Unfortunately I’ve left it a little t... Read full article

"Wild Oranges" (1924)

By Silentfilmfanatic on Feb 23, 2010 From Noir and Chick Flicks

"Wild Oranges" (1924) is a silent romantic drama starring Frank Mayo, Virginia Valli, and Ford Sterling. Directed by and adapted from the novel by Joseph Hergesheimer, this film captures the bittersweet theme of love and loss. The story begins with John Woolfolk, played by Frank Mayo, mar... Read full article

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Honorary Award Oscar 1978

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King Vidor Facts
Began at Universal Studios as a clerk for $12 per week.

Directed six different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Wallace Beery, Robert Donat, Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Shirley, Jennifer Jones and Lillian Gish. Beery won an Oscar for The Champ (1931/I).

The Big Parade (1925) was a huge hit. When MGM discovered that a clause in Vidor's contract entitled him to 20% of the net profits, studio lawyers called a meeting with him. At the meeting, MGM accountants played up the costs of the picture while downgrading the studio forecast of its potential success. Vidor was persuaded to sell his stake in the film for a small sum. The film ran for 96 weeks at the Astor Theater alone and grossed $5 million (approximately $50 million in 2003 dollars) domestically by 1930, making it the most profitable release in MGM history at that point.

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