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Biography

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

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 14 January 1909La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
Date of Death 22 June 1984London, England, UK
Birth NameJoseph Walton Losey
Nickname Joe

Mini Bio (1)

Belonging to an important family clan in Wisconsin, Joseph Losey studied philosophy but was always interested in theater and thus worked together with Bertolt Brecht. After directing some shorts for MGM, he made his first important film, The Boy with Green Hair (1948), for RKO. While he was filming The Prowler (1951) in Italy he was summoned to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, the congressional committee charged with "rooting out" Communist "subversion" in the motion picture industry. Unwilling to subject himself to the committee's well-known intimidation tactics, Losey decided to seek exile in Great Britain. In the following years he used a pseudonym--"Joseph Walton"--for his films, which were of minor quality. He regained his prestige with the thrillers Chance Meeting (1959), Concrete Jungle (1960) and Eva (1962). From that point on his films varied between top-quality work like Accident (1967) and much lower-quality projects such as Modesty Blaise (1966), which was a box-office success, and Galileo (1975), which wasn't.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Volker Boehm

Spouse (4)

Patricia Losey (29 September 1970 - 22 June 1984) (his death)
Dorothy Bromiley (16 June 1956 - 1963) (divorced) (1 child)
Louisa Stuart (19 October 1944 - 14 March 1953) (divorced)
Elizabeth Hawes (1937 - 1944) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (7)

Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 597-605. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Gave Edward Fox and James Fox their big breaks in films.
Attended the same high school in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as Nicholas Ray.
President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1972
Tried unsuccessfully to launch a project with opera legend Maria Callas, but Callas didn't like the part he offered her, which was that of an old star who desperately tries to return to her successful past. Callas considered herself at the time far too young for such a role, but said she was flattered by his offer.
Directed one Oscar-nominated performance: Margaret Leighton in The Go-Between (1970).
The director character played by Martin Scorsese in Guilty by Suspicion (1991) was based on Losey.

Personal Quotes (7)

I am frequently told that my films don't make money. Since I have averaged one film a year for 30 years--some of them expensive ones--I can only conclude that somebody is making money.
Films can illustrate our existence . . . they can distress, disturb and provoke people into thinking about themselves and certain problems. But NOT give the answers.
Film is a dog: the head is commerce, the tail is art. And only rarely does the tail wag the dog.
The productiveness of the director-actor relationship depends on the degree to which the actor trusts the director. Unless the actor feels he can safely risk everything he has to give without making himself ridiculous he won't try. He'll play safe until he knows the director will not let him make a fool of himself.
[on Ginger Rogers] Ginger Rogers was one of the worst, Red-baiting, terrifying reactionaries in Hollywood.
Once it's finished and been exposed to an audience, I very seldom can sit through a film of mine again. Almost never.
[1979 comment on Mia Farrow] It is difficult to gauge a star's breaking point, but Mia and I could not have gone on as we had begun. Fortunately, there was no need to. She is shrewd. Her instincts are perfect. Once she had the idea, she was a rewarding working partner.

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