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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 16 July 1906Vienna, Georgia, USA
Date of Death 18 June 2006Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameAbraham Orovitz

Mini Bio (1)

Vincent Sherman was born on July 16, 1906 in Vienna, Georgia, USA as Abraham Orovitz. He was a director and actor, known for Mr. Skeffington (1944), Adventures of Don Juan (1948) and The Young Philadelphians (1959). He was married to Hedda Comorau. He died on June 18, 2006 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (1)

Hedda Comorau (1931 - 1984) (her death) (2 children)

Trivia (16)

At the age of 96, this legendary director appeared at the Hollywood Collectors Show in North Hollywood, California. There he greeted well-wishers and signed vintage stills, in which he was pictured with legends such as Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, John Barrymore and others. [October 2002]
Father of Eric Sherman.
During the 1950's, he was targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, due to his support of the WPA theater project in New York
Graduate of Oglethorpe University.
Born Abraham Orovitz to one of the only two Jewish families in Vienna, GA, Sherman learned at an early age to defend himself against the taunts of his schoolmates. After graduating from Oglethorpe University, he sought an acting career in New York, joining the left-wing Group Theater. Since ethnic names for actors were unfashionable, he changed his to Vincent Sherman.
During the early 1950s, his thriving career foundered as he was dropped without explanation by Warner Bros., after a federal agent had told the studio Sherman was suspected of communist ties. He said he wasn't a communist, but he knew people like John Garfield who'd been blacklisted, and he stood beside them. His film career was seriously damaged by Hollywood's communist "red scare," but he later rebounded as a successful director of such television series as 77 Sunset Strip (1958), "The Waltons" (1972)_ Doctors' Hospital (1975), Baretta (1975), and Trapper John, M.D. (1979).
Had a son, a daughter, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Actress Francine York was his companion the last nine years of his life.
He had begun as an actor, appearing on Broadway and in a handful of movies, among them the hit Counsellor at Law (1933), in which he had a small but memorable role as a young anarchist opposite John Barrymore. He also wrote several screenplays, including King of the Underworld (1939), which starred Humphrey Bogart. In the late 1940s Warner Bros. hired Sherman under an acting-writing-directing contract, and he was assigned to the studio's B-picture unit, adapting old movies into remakes. He broke out as a director in 1942 with a gripping melodrama The Hard Way (1943). Although he would go on to direct many important projects, he never rose to the level that would afford him consideration for an Academy Award.
Romanced many of his famous actresses, and he wrote about them in his 1996 autobiography, "Studio Affairs." Though both were married at the time, he and Bette Davis had an affair that began during the filming of Old Acquaintance (1943) and continued through Mr. Skeffington (1944) which was released the following year. His dalliance with Joan Crawford lasted through three movies, and another with Rita Hayworth happened during Affair in Trinidad (1952) after she had divorced Prince Aly Khan.
He became known as a "woman's director" (a title he hated), because he could evoke powerful performances from female stars. He would counter this by pointing out that he also directed Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, Richard Burton, and Paul Newman.
Received a special tribute as part of the Annual Memorial tribute at The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007).
Jack L. Warner originally wanted Sherman to direct Mildred Pierce (1945) but Jerry Wald held out for Michael Curtiz.
Directed 4 actors to Oscar nominations: Bette Davis (Best Actress, Mr. Skeffington (1944)), Claude Rains (Best Supporting Actor, Mr. Skeffington (1944)), Richard Todd (Best Actor, The Hasty Heart (1949)), and Robert Vaughn (Best Supporting Actor, The Young Philadelphians (1959)).
Sherman's first opportunity to direct came in the late Twenties at the summer theaters in New York's Adirondacks.
Sherman was gray-listed during the 50s and went four years without a film,.
In 1933 Sherman got his first acting role in William Wyler's "Counsellor at Law" with John Barrymore. He had one scene where he threatens a kid played by Richard Quine. Because of Barrymore's alcoholism it took four days to film. Ironically both Sherman and Quine went on to become successful directors.

Personal Quotes (5)

[on Joan Crawford, and the book, 'Mommie Dearest']: Christina hurt her mother's image a lot, but at least not while Joan was still alive. Bette Davis wasn't so fortunate, or maybe I should say she was more fortunate. She had to endure the hurt, but anyway she was there to defend herself and to go on the offensive. I think I knew Joan as well as anyone ever did, but I honestly don't know how Joan would have handled Mommie Dearest if Christina had published it while she was still alive. She would have been heartbroken, but I don't think she would have just fallen apart. She was strong, but the Joan I knew was a very, very vulnerable person. I think it would have depended on her health, but because she cared so much about what her fans thought, she would have done something if she could.
The longer I'm away from the big studio system, the more I appreciate it. I'm just glad I was around at its height.
[on working with Joan Crawford] "She phoned me almost every day to discuss some story point or she would come to the studio to talk about her wardrobe. I found her excellent to work with - intelligent, perceptive, and she presented her thoughts in a way that was never high-handed. I had never worked with an actor who knew so much about filmmaking. She could have been imperious, but she never was. She always asked rather than told, and she listened. She appreciated being part of the process of working on the script, even though she had that power [in her contract]."
[on working with Joan Crawford] "I had heard so many stories about her, and I thought she'd be very demanding, overpowering and overwhelming. But Joan was very much down to earth, very simple, unpretentious and very smart about filmmaking."
[on working with Joan Crawford in The Damned Don't Cry (1950)] "[Joan was] the most cooperative actress I ever worked with - and very knowledgeable about what worked and didn't work for her in the story and in her career. When we were preparing the picture, she looked back over her own life as raw material for the character. She had risen from Broadway chorus girl to silent-movie dancer to wealthy and influential star. Her entire past had been a toughening experience for her, and she used it brilliantly."

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