Fredric March: Wikis

  
  

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Fredric March

photograph by Carl Van Vechten (1939)
Born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel
August 31, 1897(1897-08-31)
Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died April 14, 1975 (aged 77)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1921–1973
Spouse(s) Ellis Baker (m. 1921–1927) «start: (1921)–end+1: (1928)»"Marriage: Ellis Baker to Fredric March" Location: (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredric_March)
Florence Eldridge (m. 1927–1975) «start: (1927)–end+1: (1976)»"Marriage: Florence Eldridge to Fredric March" Location: (linkback:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fredric_March)

Fredric March (August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was an American stage and film actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives.

Contents

Early life

March was born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel in Racine, Wisconsin, the son of Cora Brown (née Marcher), a schoolteacher, and John F. Bickel, a devout Presbyterian Church elder who worked in the wholesale hardware business.[1] March attended the Winslow Elementary School (established in 1855), Racine High School, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. He began a career as a banker, but an emergency appendectomy caused him to reevaluate his life, and in 1920 he began working as an extra in movies made in New York City, using a shortened form of his mother's maiden name, Marcher. He appeared on Broadway in 1926, and by the end of the decade signed a film contract with Paramount Pictures.

Career

March received an Oscar nomination in 1930 for The Royal Family of Broadway, in which he played a role based upon John Barrymore (which he had first played on stage in Los Angeles). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (tied with Wallace Beery for The Champ), leading to a series of classic films based on stage hits and classic novels like Design for Living (1933), Death Takes a Holiday (1934), Les Misérables (1935), Anthony Adverse (1936), and as the original Normain Maine A Star is Born (1937), for which he received his third Oscar nomination.

March in A Star is Born (1937)

March was one of the few leading actors of his era to resist signing long-term contracts with the studios, and was able to freelance and pick and choose his roles, in the process also avoiding typecasting. He returned to Broadway after a ten year absence in 1937 with a notable flop Yr. Obedient Husband, but after the huge success of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth he focused his work as much on Broadway theatre as often as on Hollywood film, and his screen career was not as prolific as it had been. He won two Best Actor Tony Awards: in 1947 for the play Years Ago, written by Ruth Gordon; and in 1957 for his performance as James Tyrone in the original Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. He also had major successes in A Bell for Adano in 1944 and Gideon in 1961, and played Ibsen's An Enemy of the People on Broadway in 1951. He also starred in such films as I Married a Witch (1942) and Another Part of the Forest (1948) during this period, and won his second Oscar in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives. March also branched out into television, winning Emmy nominations for his third attempt at The Royal Family for the series The Best of Broadway as well as for a television performances as Samuel Dodsworth and Ebenezer Scrooge. On March 25, 1954, March co-hosted the 26th Annual Academy Awards ceremony from New York City, with co-host Donald O'Connor in Los Angeles.

March's neighbor in Connecticut, playwright Arthur Miller, was thought to favor March to inaugurate the part of Willy Loman in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman (1949). However, March read the play and turned down the role, whereupon director Elia Kazan cast Lee J. Cobb as Willy, and Arthur Kennedy as one of Willy's sons, Biff Loman, two men that the director had worked with in the film Boomerang (1947). March later regretted turning down the role and finally played Willy Loman in Columbia Pictures's 1951 film version of the play, directed by Laslo Benedek, receiving his fifth-and-final Oscar nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award. Perhaps March's greatest later career role was in Inherit the Wind(1960), opposite Spencer Tracy.

Henry Drummond (Tracy, left) and Matthew Harrison Brady (March), right) in Inherit the Wind

When March underwent major surgery for prostate cancer in 1970, it seemed his career was over, yet he managed to give one last great performance in The Iceman Cometh (1973), as the complicated Irish bartender, Harry Hope.

March has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1616 Vine Street.

Personal life

Although March died in Los Angeles, California at the age of 77 from cancer, he considered the rural Litchfield County town of New Milford, Connecticut his primary residence since the 1930s. This property was subsequently home to American playwright Lillian Hellman as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. March was married to actress Florence Eldridge from 1927 until his death, and they had two adopted children. He was buried at his estate in New Milford, Connecticut.

Throughout his life, he and his wife were supporters of the Democratic Party and liberal political causes. His support for the Republican (Second Spanish Republic) side during the Spanish Civil War was particularly controversial.

Filmography and awards

Year Film Role Notes
1921 The Great Adventure uncredited extra
Paying the Piper uncredited extra
The Education of Elizabeth uncredited extra
The Devil uncredited extra
1929 The Dummy Trumbull Meredith
The Wild Party James 'Gil' Gilmore
The Studio Murder Mystery Richard Hardell
Paris Bound Jim Hutton
Jealousy Pierre
Footlights and Fools Gregory Pyne
The Marriage Playground Martin Boyne
1930 Sarah and Son Howard Vanning
Paramount on Parade Marine
Ladies Love Brutes Dwight Howell
True to the Navy Bull's Eye McCoy
Manslaughter Dan O'Bannon
Laughter Paul Lockridge
The Royal Family of Broadway Tony Cavendish Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
1931 Honor Among Lovers Jerry Stafford
Night Angel Rudek Berken
My Sin Dick Grady
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Academy Award for Best Actor (tied with Wallace Beery for The Champ)
1932 Strangers in Love Buddy Drake/Arthur Drake
Merrily We Go to Hell Jerry Corbett
Make Me a Star himself behind-the-scenes drama.
Smilin' Through Kenneth Wayne
The Sign of the Cross Marcus Superbus
Hollywood on Parade No. A-1 himself short film
1933 Tonight Is Ours Sabien Pastal
The Eagle and the Hawk Jerry H. Young
Design for Living Thomas B. 'Tom' Chambers
1934 All of Me Don Ellis
Death Takes a Holiday Prince Sirki/Death
Good Dame Mace Townsley
The Affairs of Cellini Benvenuto Cellini
The Barretts of Wimpole Street Robert Browning
We Live Again Prince Dmitri Nekhlyudov
Hollywood on Parade No. B-6 himself short film
1935 Les Misérables Jean Valjean/Champmathieu
Anna Karenina Vronsky
The Dark Angel Alan Trent
Screen Snapshots Series 14, No. 11 himself short film
1936 The Road to Glory Lieutenant Michel Denet
Mary of Scotland Bothwell
Anthony Adverse Anthony Adverse
Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 3 himself short film
1937 A Star Is Born Norman Maine Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nothing Sacred Wallace 'Wally' Cook
Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 5 himself short film
1938 The Buccaneer Jean Lafitte
There Goes My Heart Bill Spencer
Trade Winds Sam Wye
1939 The 400 Million Narrator Documentary of Chinese history
1940 Susan and God Barrie Trexel
Victory Hendrik Heyst
Lights Out in Europe Narrator War documentary about the outbreak of World War II in Europe
1941 So Ends Our Night Josef Steiner
One Foot in Heaven William Spence
Bedtime Story Lucius 'Luke' Drake
1942 I Married a Witch Jonathan Wooley/Nathaniel Wooley/Samuel Wooley
Lake Carrier Narrator Documentary short
1944 Valley of the Tennessee Narrator voice only
The Adventures of Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens
Tomorrow, the World! Mike Frame
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives Al Stephenson Academy Award for Best Actor
1948 Another Part of the Forest Marcus Hubbard
An Act of Murder Judge Calvin Cooke
1949 Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus
The Ford Theatre Hour Television
Episode: "The Twentieth Century"
1950 The Titan: Story of Michelangelo Narrator documentary about the life and works of Michelangelo Buonarroti
Nash Airflyte Theatre Television
Episode: "The Boor"
1951 It's a Big Country Joe Esposito
Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Volpi Cup
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
Lux Video Theatre Television
Episode: "The Speech"
1952 Lux Video Theatre Television
Episode: "Ferry Crisis at Friday Point"
Toast of the Town himself later known as The Ed Sullivan Show
1953 25th Academy Awards himself presenter Academy Award for Best Actress to Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba
Omnibus Television
Episode: "The Last Night of Don Juan"
Man on a Tightrope Karel Cernik
The Bridges at Toko-Ri Rear Admiral George Tarrant
1954 26th Academy Awards himself Co-hosted from New York, with Donald O'Connor in Hollywood
Executive Suite Loren Phineas Shaw Venice Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting (shared with the principal cast)
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
The Best of Broadway Tony Cavendish Television
Episode: "The Royal Family" (based on March's Broadway play and film of the same name)
Nominated — Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor
Shower of Stars Ebenezer Scrooge Television
Episode: "A Christmas Carol"
Nominated — Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor
What's My Line? himself
1955 The Desperate Hours Dan C. Hilliard
1956 Alexander the Great Philip of Macedonia
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Ralph Hopkins
Producers' Showcase Sam Dodsworth Television
Episode: "Dodsworth"
Nominated — Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor
Shower of Stars Eugene Tesh Television
Episode: "The Flattering World"
Island of Allah Narrator
1957 Toast of the Town himself later known as The Ed Sullivan Show
Albert Schweitzer Narrator documentary
1958 The DuPont Show of the Month Arthur Winslow Television
Episode: "The Winslow Boy"
Tales from Dickens Host also known as Fredric March Presents Tales From Dickens, March hosted seven episodes during 1958 and 1959.
Episodes: "Bardell Versus Pickwick", "Uriah Heep", "A Christmas Carol", "David and Betsy Trotwood", "David and His Mother", "Christmas at Dingley Dell" and "The Runaways"
1959 Middle of the Night Jerry Kingsley Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1960 Inherit the Wind Matthew Harrison Brady Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated — Silver Bear for Best Actor
1961 The Young Doctors Dr. Joseph Pearson
1962 I Sequestrati di Altona
(The Condemned of Altona)
Albrecht von Gerlach
1963 A Tribute to John F. Kennedy from the Arts Host broadcast on November 24, 1963, two days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy
1964 Seven Days in May President Jordan Lyman Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
The Presidency: A Splendid Mystery Narrator Television
Pieta Narrator documentary
1967 Hombre Dr. Alex Favor
1970 …tick…tick…tick… Mayor Jeff Parks
1973 The Iceman Cometh Harry Hope

References

External links








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