Leo McCarey

Leo McCarey

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 5 Jul 1969 (aged 70)
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section T, Tier 43, Grave 134
Memorial ID 5259 · View Source
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Film Director, Producer, Screenwriter, and Academy Award Winner. He was involved in nearly 200 movies, most notably "Duck Soup" (1933) "Make Way for Tomorrow" (1937), "The Awful Truth" (1937), "Going My Way" (1944), and "An Affair To Remember" (1957). Born Thomas Leo McCarey in Los Angeles, California his father was a fight promoter. He attended St. Joseph's Catholic school and Los Angeles High School before graduating from the University of Southern California law school. In 1919 he became an assistant director to Tod Browning, who convinced him to become a writer rather than an actor. He honed his skills at the Hal Roach Studios where he wrote gags for the "Our Gang" series and other studio stars, then produced and directed shorts, including two-reelers with Charley Chase. He cast Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy together and guided development of their onscreen characters, thus creating one of the most enduring comedy teams of all time. He only officially appeared as director of the duo's shorts "We Faw Down" (1928), "Liberty" (1929) and "Wrong Again" (1929), but wrote many screenplays and supervised the direction by others. By 1929 he was vice-president of production for the studio. In the sound era he focused on feature-film direction, working with many of the biggest stars of the era, including Gloria Swanson in "Indiscreet" (1931), Eddie Cantor in "The Kid From Spain" (1932), the Marx Brothers in "Duck Soup" (1933), W.C. Fields in "Six of a Kind" (1934), and Mae West in "Belle of the Nineties" (1934). In 1937 he earned his first Academy Award best Director for "The Awful Truth," with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, a screwball comedy that launched Grant's unique screen persona, largely concocted by McCarey. He followed it up with "The Cowboy and the Lady' (1938, with Cary Cooper and Merle Oberon) and "Love Affair" (1939, with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer). In 1940 an automobile accident prevented him from directing his production of "My Favorite Wife," a kind of follow up to "The Awful Truth," with the same two stars. During the 1940s his work became more serious and his politics more conservative. In 1944 he directed "Going My Way," starring Bing Crosby, for which he won his second Academy Award for Best Director and another Academy Award for Best Writer. His share in the profits gave him the highest reported income in the US for 1944, and its follow-up, "The Bells of St. Mary's" (1945), which paired Crosby with Ingrid Bergman and made by his newly formed production company, was similarly successful. Following World War II, the public reacted negatively to some of his films. For instance, his anti-communist film "My Son John" (1952) failed at the box office. But five years later, he co-wrote, produced, and directed "An Affair to Remember" (1957) starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, a remake (with precisely the same script) of his 1939 film "Love Affair." He followed this hit with "Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!" (1958), a comedy starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. In 1962 he directed his last picture, the poorly received "Satan Never Sleeps." He died in Santa Monica, California at the age of 70. His production records, including scripts, budgets, and correspondence were donated to the Charles Feldman Library at the American Film Institute in Beverly Hills, California.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 28 Apr 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5259
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Leo McCarey (31 Oct 1898–5 Jul 1969), Find a Grave Memorial no. 5259, citing Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .