George Cukor life and biography

George Cukor picture, image, poster

George Cukor biography

Date of birth : 1899-07-07
Date of death : 1983-01-24
Birthplace : New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-08-20
Credited as : Film Director, Little Woman 1933, Justine 1969

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George Cukor, also known as George Dewey Cukor born July 7, 1899 in New York, United States - died January 24, 1983 was an American film Director.

George Cukor's films range from classics like Greta Garbo's Camille, to Adam's Rib with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, to the Judy Garland musical A Star Is Born. Throughout the years he managed to "weather the changes in public taste and the pressures of the Hollywood studio system without compromising his style, his taste, or his ethical standards," as his honorary degree from Loyola University of Chicago is inscribed. Indeed, Cukor informed each of the stories he brought to the screen with his affectionately critical view of humanity. In film after film he sought to prod the mass audience to reconsider their cherished illusions in order to gain fresh insights into the problems that confront everyone. "When a director has provided tasteful entertainment of a high order consistently," noted Andrew Sarris, "it is clear that he is much more than a mere entertainer, he is a genuine artist."

Although most of Cukor's films are adaptations of preexisting novels and plays, he has always chosen material that has been consistent with his view of reality. Most often he has explored the conflict between illusion and reality in peoples' lives. The chief characters in his films are frequently actors and actresses, for they, more than anyone, run the risk of allowing the world of illusion with which they are constantly involved to become their reality. This theme is obvious in many of Cukor's best films and appears in some of his earliest work, including The Royal Family of Broadway, which he co-directed. In it he portrays a family of troupers, based on the Barrymores, who are wedded to their world of fantasy in a way that makes a shambles of their private lives.

The attempt of individuals to reconcile their cherished dreams with the sober realities of life continues in films as superficially different as Dinner at Eight, The Philadelphia Story, and A Double Life. Ronald Colman earned an Academy Award in the last as an actor who becomes so identified with the parts he plays that, while enacting Othello, he develops a murderous streak of jealousy which eventually destroys him.

While it is true that Cukor was often drawn to stories about show people, his films also suggest that everyone leads a double life that moves between illusion and reality, and that everyone must seek to sort out fantasy from fact if they are to cope realistically with their problems--something Cukor's characters frequently fail to do. Les Girls is the most explicit of all Cukor's films in treating this theme. Here the same events are told from four different points of view at a libel trial, each version differing markedly from the others. Because Cukor allows each narrator "equal time," he is sympathetic to the way each of them has subconsciously revised their common experiences in a manner that enables him or her to live with the past in the present. As Sarris remarks, Cukor does not imply that people necessarily are liars, but rather that they tell the truth in their own fashion.

Though Cukor must have harbored some degree of affection and sympathy for the world of romantic illusion--for there is always a hint of regret in his films when actuality inevitably asserts itself in the life of one of his dreamers--his movies nonetheless remain firmly rooted in, and committed to, the workaday world of reality.

Directing his last film, Rich and Famous, merited Cukor the distinction of being one of the oldest filmmakers ever to direct a major motion picture. His work on that film likewise marked him as a man who had enjoyed the longest continuous career of any director in film or television. Some of the satisfaction which he derived from his long career was grounded in the fact that few directors have commanded such a large portion of the mass audience. "His movies," Richard Schickel has noted, "can be appreciated--no, liked--at one level or another by just about everyone."

For his part, Cukor once reflected that "I look upon every picture that I make as the first one I've ever done--and the last. I love each film I have directed, and I try to make each one as good as I possibly can. Mind you, making movies is no bed of roses. Every day isn't Christmas. It's been a hard life, but also a joyous one."


Nationality: American. Born: New York, 7 July 1899. Education: DeWitt Clinton High School, New York. Military Service: Served in U.S. armed forces; directed film for the Signal Corps., 1943. Career: Stage manager on Broadway, 1919-24; manager, stock company in Rochester, New York, and director, New York City, 1924-26; stage director, New York, 1926-29; co-director for Paramount in Hollywood, 1929-32; joined RKO, began association with Katharine Hepburn, 1932; began association with writers Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, 1947. Awards: Oscar for Best Director, and Directors Guild of America Award, for My Fair Lady, 1964; Honorary doctorates, University of Southern California, 1968, and Loyola University, Chicago, 1976; D.W. Griffith Award, Directors Guild of America, 1981; Golden Lion, Venice Festival, 1982. Died: 24 January 1983.

* Films as Director

* 1930: Grumpy (co-d)
* 1930: The Virtuous Sin (co-d)
* 1930: The Royal Family of Broadway (co-d)
* 1931: Tarnished Lady
* 1931: Girls about Town
* 1932: What Price Hollywood?
* 1932: A Bill of Divorcement
* 1932: Rockabye
* 1932: One Hour with You (co-d with Lubitsch, uncredited, + dialogue director)
* 1932: The Animal Kingdom (co-d, uncredited)
* 1933: Our Betters
* 1933: Dinner at Eight
* 1933: Little Women
* 1933: David Copperfield (The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, and Observations of David Copperfield, the Younger)
* 1933: No More Ladies (co-d, uncredited)
* 1936: Sylvia Scarlett
* 1936: Romeo and Juliet
* 1937: Camille
* 1938: Holiday
* 1939: Zaza
* 1939: The Women
* 1939: Gone with the Wind (co-d, uncredited)
* 1940: Susan and God
* 1940: The Philadelphia Story
* 1941: A Woman's Face
* 1941: Two-Faced Woman
* 1942: Her Cardboard Lover
* 1943: Keeper of the Flame
* 1944: Gaslight
* 1944: Winged Victory
* 1945: I'll Be Seeing You (co-d, uncredited)
* 1947: A Double Life
* 1947: Desire Me (co-d, uncredited)
* 1949: Edward My Son
* 1949: Adam's Rib
* 1950: A Life of Her Own
* 1950: Born Yesterday
* 1951: The Model and the Marriage Broker
* 1952: The Marrying Kind
* 1952: Pat and Mike
* 1953: The Actress
* 1954: It Should Happen to You
* 1954: A Star Is Born
* 1956: Bhowani Junction
* 1957: Les Girls
* 1957: Wild Is the Wind
* 1958: Hot Spell (co-d, uncredited)
* 1960: Heller in Pink Tights
* 1960: Let's Make Love
* 1960: Song without End (co-d, uncredited)
* 1962: The Chapman Report
* 1964: My Fair Lady
* 1969: Justine
* 1972: Travels with My Aunt
* 1975: Love among the Ruins (for TV)
* 1976: The Bluebird
* 1979: The Corn Is Green (for TV)
* 1981: Rich and Famous

* Other Films

* 1929: River of Romance (Wallace) (dialogue d)
* 1930: All Quiet on the Western Front (Milestone) (dialogue d)

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