Edit
Clarence Brown Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (10) | Salary (7)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 10 May 1890Clinton, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 17 August 1987Santa Monica, California, USA  (kidney failure)
Birth NameClarence Leon Brown

Mini Bio (1)

Clarence Leon Brown was the son of Larkin Harry and Catherine Ann (Gaw) Brown of Clinton, Massachusetts. His family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, when he was 12 years old. He graduated from Knoxville High School in 1905 and from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in mechanical and electrical engineering in 1912. After graduation Brown settled in Alabama, where he operated a Stevens Duryea dealership called the Brown Motor Car Co. He soon tired of the car business and, fascinated by the movies, moved to New Jersey to study with French director Maurice Tourneur at Peerless Productions in Fort Lee.

During his career Brown directed or produced more than 50 widely-acclaimed full-length films--many during his long association with prestigious MGM--and worked with many of the industry's most illustrious performers. He also maintained close ties with the University of Tennessee, donating the money necessary to construct the institution's Clarence Brown Theatre during the 1970s and an additional $12 million after his death.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: EGD (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (4)

Marian Ruth Spies (1946 - 17 August 1987) (his death)
Alice Joyce (31 March 1933 - 3 October 1945) (divorced)
Ona Wilson (22 October 1922 - 1927) (divorced)
Paul Herndon Pratt (12 May 1913 - ?) (1 child)

Trivia (11)

Had one daughter, Adrienne (sometimes given as Arabella), by his first wife in 1917.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 63-66. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
Directed 10 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Greta Garbo, Lionel Barrymore, Norma Shearer, Marie Dressler, Beulah Bondi, Charles Boyer, Mickey Rooney, Anne Revere, Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman. Barrymore and Revere won Oscars for their performances in one of Brown's movies.
Was good friends with Erich von Stroheim
Was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War I.
At six, he holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations for Best Director without a win. He was nominated for Anna Christie (1930), Romance (1930), A Free Soul (1931), The Human Comedy (1943), National Velvet (1944) and The Yearling (1946).
The governor of Tennessee declared May 27, 1970 as Clarence Brown Day with the start of the inaugural film festival in the 626 Clarence Brown Theater on the campus of the University of Tennessee.
Brown is on record as stating that the happiest working conditions of his career were at 20th Century-Fox where he made the only non-MGM picture during the last 25 years of his career on double loan-out with Myrna Loy.
After seeing that many of the finest pictures were produced by World Pictures and Maurice Tourneur, he found his way to Fort Lee, New Jersey and introduced himself to he director. The studio was looking for an assistant and took him on. Tourneur took him on and Brown remained with him for seven years.
During WWI Brown enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a flight instructor.
Brown graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1910 at age 19 with a double degree in mechanical and electrical engineering.

Personal Quotes (10)

A star is when someone says, "To hell with it, let's leave the dishes in the sink and go see Joan Crawford in a movie".
First I want everything an actress knows. I get her interpretation, then we talk.
Maurice Tourneur was my god. I owe him everything I've got in the world. For me, he was the greatest man who ever lived. If it hadn't been for him, I'd still be selling automobiles.
[on Greta Garbo] She has this great appeal to the world because she expresses her emotions by thinking them. Garbo does not need gestures and movements to convey happiness, despair, hope and disappointment, joy or tragedy. She registers her feelings literally by radiating her thoughts to you.
Working with Garbo was easy because she trusted me. I never directed her in anything above a whisper. She was very shy, so we'd go through the changes I wanted in a little quiet whisper off in the corner, without letting others know what I was telling her. I learned through experience that Garbo had something behind the eyes that told the whole story that I couldn't see from my distance. Sometimes I would be dissatisfied with a take, but would go ahead and print it anyway. On the screen Garbo multiplied the effect of the scene I had taken. It was something that no one else ever had.
I direct children as I direct adults, always trying to understand their personalities, and to make them trust me wholeheartedly. Children have a very keen mental perception. They know when you speak to them condescendingly or try to trick them into doing something.
[on the first movies he ever saw c. 1912] In those days movies were nothing more than penny arcade entertainment. During my lunch hours UI used to go into 'shooting galleries,' as we called theaters then, and look at pictures. Gradually I had the feeling that I would like to try them.
[on Valentino] He impressed me as a rather shy man who in private life had none of the exuberance of his film roles. I remember his love of sports cars. We had that in common.
[on "The Trail of '98"] ... the hardest film I ever made.
[on Elizabeth Taylor] She has a face that is an Act of God.

Salary (7)

The Cub (1915) $30 /week
Exile (1917) $30 /week
The Acquittal (1923) $12,500
The Signal Tower (1924) $12,500
Butterfly (1924) $12,500
Smouldering Fires (1925) $12,500
The Goose Woman (1925) $12,500

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page