Michael Curtiz

Michael Curtiz

Jodie Foster used to own a home that Curtiz built in 1934. The house was originally a guest house on the large estate that he owned. It is copied from small quaint Cotswold cottages found in the midlands in England. In 1995 she put the home up for sale for $1.1 million.

After Nunnally Johnson bowed out, 20th Century Fox started negotiations with Curtiz to direct the Elvis Presley film Flaming Star (1960), but the job was later taken by Don Siegel. Curtiz had previously directed Presley in King Creole (1958) and was originally set to direct him again in G.I. Blues (1960).

After directing Elvis Presley in King Creole (1958) Curtiz was set to direct Presley's first post-Army film, G.I. Blues (1960) but for unknown reasons the film was eventually directed by Norman Taurog. Hal B. Wallis produced both of these films.

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 172-181. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.

Brother of assistant director David Curtiz.

Could be intensely absorbed, to the point of distraction. Once was hurt falling out of a moving car because he wanted to write down an idea. He was driving at the time.

Directed 10 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Paul Muni, John Garfield, James Cagney, Walter Huston, Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Joan Crawford, Ann Blyth, Eve Arden and William Powell. Cagney and Crawford won Oscars for their performances in one of Curtiz' movies.

Fought in the Hungarian army during World War I.

He had one son, John Meredyth Lucas, whom he adopted in 1929 when the boy was ten years old.

His adopted son, John Meredyth Lucas, said he spoke 5 languages, all of them badly. His thick Hungarian accent often made it difficult for cast and crew to understand him when he spoke English. During the filming of Casablanca (1942), for instance, he asked a set dresser for a "poodle", and when the dresser brought him a small poodle dog, Curtiz exploded at the man--he had meant that he wanted a "poodle" of water. On the set of The Cabin in the Cotton (1932), Curtiz made a speech to the actors on how he wanted them to act like "woodpeckers" when the script described them as "peckerwoods". A number of Curtiz' other misstatements were mistakenly attributed to producer Samuel Goldwyn, who was also famous for verbal slips.

His two most fruitful collaborations with stars were with Errol Flynn (they did 12 films together) and Humphrey Bogart (they did 8 films together).

Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA., in the Whispering Pines section.

Was assigned to direct Adventures of Don Juan (1948), in 1947, however Errol Flynn had a falling-out with him.