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Francis Lederer Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (28) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 6 November 1899Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary [now Czech Republic]
Date of Death 25 May 2000Palm Springs, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameFrantisek Lederer
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Frantisek Lederer was born on November 6th, 1899, in Czechoslovakia. His father was a leather merchant, and young Frantisek began his working life as a department store delivery boy in Prague. He fell in love with acting from a young age, and was soon on stage touring Moravia and then all over Central Europe with people like Peter Lorre.

Lederer was easily lured into film by German actress Henny Porten and her producer husband. And it wasn't long before he was starring in the legendary German silent movie Pandora's Box (1929).

Whilst Lederer, who was using the German name of Franz, shifted from silents to talkies easily and was fast becoming one of Germany's top stars, he hadn't yet learned to speak any English.

By 1934, Lederer, (now using Francis), had begun working in America. And he was getting top billing too. Irving Thalberg had planned to make Lederer "the biggest star in Hollywood" but Thalberg's untimely death put a stop to that. But Lederer continued successfully in film and TV for many years.

After two brief marriages his third lasted 59 years. He invested in property well and made a fortune in the Canoga Park, California area. He founded the National Academy of Performing Arts on which his close friend Joan Crawford was on the Advisory Board. He loved to teach.

Lederer was still teaching the week before he died in 2000, aged 100 years.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Christopherbkk

Spouse (3)

Marion Irvine (10 July 1941 - 25 May 2000) (his death)
Margo (16 October 1937 - 21 December 1940) (divorced)
Ada Nedjedly-Hart (? - 1928) (divorced)

Trivia (28)

Founded the American National Academy of Performing Arts and continued to give acting seminars up until the time of his death at age 100. His more famous students include Helen Hunt, Michael Nader and Paul Gleason.
He served as an Honorary Mayor of Canoga Park, California for 25 years. He also was a civic leader, helping to develop the arts, education, museums and art galleries in his community.
Began teaching acting (without pay) in 1954.
Served on the board of the American National Theatre and Academy and was director of the American National Academy of Performing Arts.
Did not speak English when he first entered films in 1928, until the advent of sound forced him to do so.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6902 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Following his death, he was interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.
Became a naturalized United States citizen in 1939.
In 1934 he got involved for a turning away from the war and set up the World Peace Federation.
It was Irving Thalberg's plan to make Lederer "the biggest star in Hollywood" but the death of Thalberg ended that, and Lederer never really caught on as a star in the American mode.
In his later life, Lederer, who had become very wealthy, invested in real estate, especially in the Canoga Park community (renamed West Hills in 1987). He was active in local and Los Angeles civic affairs, philanthropy and politics. He served as Recreation and Parks Commissioner for the city of Los Angeles, received awards for his efforts to beautify the city and was the honorary mayor of Canoga Park for quite a time. He became involved with peace movements, taught acting, and was one of the founders of the American National Academy of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and the International Academy of Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
In 1928 Lederer made his debut in the film business with "Zuflucht". In the next few years he appeared in thirteen further film productions and added two highlights to his career with "Die Büchse der Pandora" (1929) and "Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna" (1929). Afterwards he came to England and the USA for a theater engagement.
Because of his good looks, it took some time for the critics to take him seriously, but his association with directors such as G. W. Pabst, for whom he did Pandora's Box with Louise Brooks,and Atlantic (both 1929), helped him overcome that problem. He was also notable in The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna in the same year. Lederer, who was billed as "Franz" at this time, easily made the transition from silent films to talkies, and was on his way to becoming one of Europe's top male film stars.
During his stay in the USA the political situation came to a head and Lederer decided to stay in exile. This decision wasn't detrimental to his career. He received leading role in the USA too and acted together with authorities like Joan Bennet, Ginger Rogers and Claudette Colbert.
He toured Moravia and central Europe, making a name for himself as a matinee idol in theaters in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany. Notable among his performances was a turn as Romeo in Max Reinhardt's staging of Romeo and Juliet.
In 1918 he tackled a study at the academy of music and performing arts and received a fixed contract at the "Neues Deutsches Theater" in Prague. In the following years he acted frequently in Germany and could start there his true theater career.
The late 1920s, Lederer was lured into films by the German actress Henny Porten and her producer husband.
Lederer fell in love with acting when he was young, and was trained at the Academy of Music and Academy of Dramatic Art in Prague.[.
He received leading role in the USA and acted together with authorities like Joan Bennet, Ginger Rogers and Claudette Colbert.
After service in the Austrian-Hungarian Imperial Army in World War I, he made his stage debut as an apprentice with the New German Theater, a walk-on in the play Burning Heart.
In the 50s Lederer appeared in movies only occasionally, his last cinema movie came into being in 1959.
Frantisek Lederer was born in Karlin/Prague und grew up bilingual.
Already as a teenager he worked partially as an extra for the theater and took play lessons by Roman Reinhardt.
In 1940 he had to ward off against reproaches to had been taken part in communistic meetings, with effect.
Till 1971 he appeared time and again in guest roles of different TV serials like "Mission Impossible" and others.
Francis Lederer worked until one week before his death at his self-founded American National Academy of Performing Arts in Los Angeles.
In 1931, Lederer was in London to perform on stage in Volpone and the next year in Autumn Crocus by Dodie Smith, which he then performed on Broadway - using the name "Francis" - where it played for 210 performances in 1932 and 1933. He also performed the play in Los Angeles. His performances attracted attention and film offers from Hollywood. With the deteriorating political situation in Europe, Lederer decided to stay in the United States. He became a U.S. citizen in 1939.
In 2000, he was honored by the Austrian government with the Cross of Honor for Science and Arts, First Class.

Personal Quotes (2)

My theory about acting was created by the fact that I had the good fortune immediately to play important parts on the stage and on the screen with these big stars, and I acquired a a theory that I still pursue, and that is concentration on what the whole situation, what the whole scene is about.
You read the script, and you find out what the author had in mind. That's basically the essence of it. I don't believe in actors and actresses having their own individual conception. In my opinion, the actor is a tool of the writer, and his sole ambitions should be to fulfill his conception of the work.

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