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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (8) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 February 1894Galveston, Texas, USA
Date of Death 1 November 1982Paso Robles, California, USA
Birth NameKing Wallis Vidor
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

King Vidor was born on February 8, 1894 in Galveston, Texas, USA as King Wallis Vidor. He was a director and writer, known for War and Peace (1956), The Crowd (1928) and Duel in the Sun (1946). He was married to Vidor, Elizabeth Hill, Eleanor Boardman and Florence Vidor. He died on November 1, 1982 in Paso Robles, California, USA.

Spouse (3)

Vidor, Elizabeth Hill (1937 - 1 November 1982) (his death)
Eleanor Boardman (8 September 1926 - 11 April 1933) (divorced) (2 children)
Florence Vidor (1915 - 1924) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (20)

Father of Suzanne Vidor Parry by his first marriage to Florence Vidor and Antonia Vidor and Belinda Vidor Holiday by his second marriage to Eleanor Boardman..
(1936-1938) President of the Screen Directors Guild.
Survived the most horrific hurricane to ever hit the United States, the 1900 storm that devastated Galveston, Texas on September 8th, 1900. This tropical cyclone killed an estimated 6,000 people, fully one third of the population. Vidor wrote a fictional account of the storm entitled "Southern Storm" for the May 1935 issue of Esquire magazine.
Entered into Guinness World Records as having "The Longest Career As A Film Director", spanning 67 years beginning with Hurricane in Galveston (1913) in 1913 and ending with the documentary The Metaphor (1980) in 1980.
Directed the black and white sequences (the Kansas scenes), including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," in The Wizard of Oz (1939) when director Victor Fleming was forced to leave the production to move to Gone with the Wind (1939).
Was obsessed by the unsolved murder of 1920s director William Desmond Taylor. He spent all of 1967 attempting to learn the identity of Taylor's killer and planned to turn the story into a movie.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 1130-1136. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
The Big Parade (1925) was a huge hit. When MGM discovered that a clause in Vidor's contract entitled him to 20% of the net profits, studio lawyers called a meeting with him. At the meeting, MGM accountants played up the costs of the picture while downgrading the studio forecast of its potential success. Vidor was persuaded to sell his stake in the film for a small sum. The film ran for 96 weeks at the Astor Theater alone and grossed $5 million (approximately $50 million in 2003 dollars) domestically by 1930, making it the most profitable release in MGM history at that point.
He had three daughters. His oldest, Suzanne, was born to his first wife Florence in 1919. With Eleanor Boardman he had daughters Antonia, born in 1927, and Belinda, born in June, 1930.
Directed six different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Wallace Beery, Robert Donat, Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Shirley, Jennifer Jones and Lillian Gish. Beery won an Oscar for The Champ (1931).
In 1978, he (co-presenter) accepted the Oscar for "Best Director" on behalf of Woody Allen, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony
Head of jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1962
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 823-825. New York: Charles Scribner's.
Began at Universal Studios as a clerk for $12 per week.
Founder and president of King Vidor Productions, formed in 1920.
The city of Vidor, Texas, was named after his father Charles Shelton Vidor, a prominent businessman who founded the Miller-Vidor Lumber Co., and the town grew up around it.
Vidor was one of the most important directors to work at MGM during its heyday, under contract 1923-1930, and 1938-1944 (in between, a spell at Paramount, 1935-1936). After he left the studio, he directed one of his best films, the epic western Duel in the Sun (1946) for Selznick, then was briefly under contract at Warner Brothers, 1949-50.
Having been talked out of his percentage of the net profits for The Big Parade (1925) by Louis B. Mayer, Vidor received as compensation assurances of being able to freely select his own subject matter in between studio assignments. This led directly to his two major successes in the late 1920's, The Crowd (1928), a downbeat story of city life, and the pioneering all-black musical Hallelujah (1929).
His wartime drama The Big Parade (1925) ran to an approximate budget of $ 200,000. However, MGM production chief Irving Thalberg was so impressed by the rough cut, that he ordered additional war footage to be shot in order to bolster production values. The total cost of the picture finally came to $ 380,000.
Retired after 'Solomon and Sheba' in 1959, settling on his Paso Robles ranch in San Luis Obispo County. In later years, he lectured film students and budding filmmakers in motion picture directing at the University of Southern California.

Personal Quotes (8)

The director is the channel through which a motion picture reaches the screen.
In Hollywood, the cameraman light the star. In Europe, he lights the set.
[on unwittingly relinquishing his profit share in the hugely successful The Big Parade (1925) for a nominal sum] "I thus spared myself from becoming a millionaire instead of a struggling young director trying to do something interesting and better with a camera."
[on Hedy Lamarr] Her beauty made up for whatever she lacked in acting ability. Acting probably didn't come naturally to her but the note of unsureness in what she did seemed to give her a certain childish attractiveness.
[on Frank Capra] Very often I would see the wheels going around and the tricks coming up. It was probably useful, but I used to be aware of the mechanics of it and how you would work toward a gag to get a gag in. I'm sure he'd think the same thing about me. He's a good filmmaker.
[on Robert Donat] He is the only actor I have ever known who had a graph of his character development charted out on the wall of his dressing room.
[on Gary Cooper] He got a reputation as a great actor just by thinking hard about the next line.
[on the chaotic conditions of early Hollywood] Men who had never been inside a studio were given directing assignments on pure bluff. They wouldn't have the slightest notion of what a camera could do. Some of these ne'er-do-wells would turn out several pictures before being discovered; by the time busy executives got around to viewing their initial efforts, they would be well into their third film.

Salary (1)

The Big Parade (1925) $425/week

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