Melvyn Douglas (1901–1981)

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Two-time Oscar-winner Melvyn Douglas was one of America's finest actors, and would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka (1939), but he was much, much more. Melvyn Douglas was born Melvyn Edouard Hesselberg on April 5, 1901, in Macon, Georgia. ... See full bio »

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »


Known For

Being There Benjamin Rand
Hud Homer Bannon
Ninotchka Leon
The Changeling Senator Carmichael


Hide Hide Show Show Actor (114 credits)
 1981 Ghost Story
John Jaffrey
 1981 The Hot Touch
Max Reich
 1980 Tell Me a Riddle
 1980 The Changeling
Senator Carmichael
 1979 Being There
Benjamin Rand
 1979 The Seduction of Joe Tynan
Senator Birney
 1977 Intimate Strangers (TV Movie)
Donald's Father
 1977 ABC Weekend Specials (TV Series short)
Grandpa Doc
- Portrait of Grandpa Doc (1977) ... Grandpa Doc
 1977 Twilight's Last Gleaming
Zachariah Guthrie
 1976 The Tenant
Monsieur Zy
 1974-1975 The Lives of Benjamin Franklin (TV Mini Series)
Benjamin Franklin
- The Statesman (1975) ... Benjamin Franklin
- The Ambassador (1974) ... Benjamin Franklin (as an old man)
 1974 Murder or Mercy (TV Movie)
Dr. Paul Harelson - accused of his terminally-ill wife mercy killing
 1974 The Death Squad (TV Movie)
Police Captain Earl Kreski
 1973 The Going Up of David Lev (TV Movie)
 1972 Circle of Fear (TV Series)
- House of Evil (1972) ... Grandpa
 1972 The Candidate
John J. McKay
 1972 One is a Lonely Number
Joseph Provo
 1971 Death Takes a Holiday (TV Movie)
Judge Earl Chapman
 1970 I Never Sang for My Father
Tom Garrison
 1970 NET Playhouse (TV Series)
- Trail of Tears (1970)
 1970 Hunters Are for Killing (TV Movie)
Keller Floran
 1969 The Choice (TV Movie)
 1968 Companions in Nightmare (TV Movie)
Dr. Lawrence Strelson - a psychiatrist
 1959-1968 The Ed Sullivan Show (TV Series)
Spofford / Griffith P. Hastings
- Episode #21.20 (1968) ... Spofford
- Episode #13.7 (1959) ... Griffith P. Hastings
 1967 CBS Playhouse (TV Series)
Peter Schermann
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (1967) ... Peter Schermann
 1967 The Crucible (TV Movie)
Governor Danforth
 1967 Hotel
Warren Trent
 1966 Lamp at Midnight (TV Movie)
Galileo Galilei
 1966 The Fugitive (TV Series)
Dr. Mark Ryder
- The 2130 (1966) ... Dr. Mark Ryder
 1965 Inherit the Wind (TV Movie)
Henry Drummond
 1965 Once Upon a Tractor (Short)
 1965 Rapture
Frederick Larbaud
 1964 The Americanization of Emily
Admiral William Jessup
 1964 Advance to the Rear
Col. Claude Brackenbury
 1964 A Very Close Family (TV Movie)
 1963 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (TV Series)
Pat Konke
- A Killing at Sundial (1963) ... Pat Konke
 1963 Kraft Mystery Theater (TV Series)
 1963 Hud
Homer Bannon
 1963 Ben Casey (TV Series)
Burton Strang
- Rage Against the Dying Light (1963) ... Burton Strang
 1962 Billy Budd
The Dansker - Sailmaker
 1960 Our American Heritage (TV Series)
Mark Twain
- Shadow of a Soldier (1960) ... Mark Twain
 1960 Sunday Showcase (TV Series)
Mark Twain
 1959 Frontier Justice (TV Series)
- Black Is for Grief (1959) ... Host
- A Time to Live (1959) ... Host
- Shadow of a Dead Man (1959) ... Host
- No Man Living (1959) ... Host
- Fugitive (1959) ... Host
 1957-1959 Playhouse 90 (TV Series)
Gen. Parker / Ansel Gibbs / Stalin / ...
- Judgment at Nuremberg (1959) ... Gen. Parker
- The Return of Ansel Gibbs (1958) ... Ansel Gibbs
- The Plot to Kill Stalin (1958) ... Stalin
- The Greer Case (1957) ... Howard Hoagland
 1957-1958 The United States Steel Hour (TV Series)
Dr. Victor Payson / Census Taker / Narrator
- Second Chance (1958) ... Dr. Victor Payson
- The Hill Wife (1957) ... Census Taker / Narrator
 1957 General Electric Theater (TV Series)
Professor Arthur Barris
- Love Came Late (1957) ... Professor Arthur Barris
 1957 Goodyear Playhouse (TV Series)
Ira Sterling
- The Legacy (1957) ... Ira Sterling
 1955-1956 The Alcoa Hour (TV Series)
Jim Conway / Charles Turner
- Man on a Tiger (1956) ... Jim Conway
- Thunder in Washington (1955) ... Charles Turner
 1955 Kraft Theatre (TV Series)
- The Chess Game (1955)
 1955 Windows (TV Series)
- Arcade (1955)
 1955 The Ford Television Theatre (TV Series)
George Manners
- Letters Marked Personal (1955) ... George Manners
 1952 Steve Randall (TV Series)
Steve Randall
- The Witness (1952) ... Steve Randall
- The Trial (1952) ... Steve Randall
- The Unlucky Three (1952) ... Steve Randall
- Walk a Lonely Street (1952) ... Steve Randall
- Anniversary Gift (1952) ... Steve Randall
 1952 Lights Out (TV Series)
 1952 Studio One (TV Series)
Stefan Brand
- Letter from an Unknown Woman (1952) ... Stefan Brand
 1952 Betty Crocker Star Matinee (TV Series)
- Open Storage (1952)
 1952 Celanese Theatre (TV Series)
Archduke Rudolph von Hapsburg
- Reunion in Vienna (1952) ... Archduke Rudolph von Hapsburg
 1951 On the Loose
Frank Bradley
 1951 My Forbidden Past
Paul Beaurevel
 1951 Starlight Theatre (TV Series)
 1950 Pulitzer Prize Playhouse (TV Series)
Martin Luther Cooper / Eugene Morgan
- Mrs. January and Mr. Ex (1950) ... Martin Luther Cooper
- The Magnificent Ambersons (1950) ... Eugene Morgan
 1950 Lux Video Theatre (TV Series)
James Strickland
- To Thine Own Self (1950) ... James Strickland
 1949 The Philco Television Playhouse (TV Series)
The Stranger / Richard Gordon
- The Strange Christmas Dinner (1949) ... The Stranger
- The Five Lives of Richard Gordon (1949) ... Richard Gordon
 1949 The Great Sinner
Armand de Glasse
 1949 My Own True Love
Clive Heath
 1949 A Woman's Secret
Luke Jordan
 1947 The Guilt of Janet Ames
Smithfield 'Smitty' Cobb
 1947 The Sea of Grass
Brice Chamberlain
 1943 Three Hearts for Julia
Jeff Seabrook
 1942 They All Kissed the Bride
Michael Holmes
 1942 We Were Dancing
Nikki Prax
 1941 Two-Faced Woman
Larry Blake
 1941 Our Wife
Jerome 'Jerry' Marvin
 1941 A Woman's Face
Dr. Gustaf Segert
 1941 That Uncertain Feeling
Larry Baker
 1940 This Thing Called Love
Tice Collins
 1940 Third Finger, Left Hand
Jeff Thompson
 1940 He Stayed for Breakfast
Paul Boliet
 1940 Too Many Husbands
Henry Lowndes
 1939 The Amazing Mr. Williams
Police Lieutenant Kenny Williams
 1939 Ninotchka
 1939 Good Girls Go to Paris
Ronald Brooke
 1939 Tell No Tales
Michael Cassidy
 1938 There's That Woman Again
William 'Bill' Reardon
 1938 The Shining Hour
Henry Linden
 1938 That Certain Age
Vincent Bullitt
 1938 Fast Company
Joel Sloane
 1938 The Toy Wife
George Sartoris
 1938 There's Always a Woman
William 'Bill' Reardon
 1938 Arsène Lupin Returns
Rene Farrand
 1937 I'll Take Romance
James Guthrie
 1937 Angel
Anthony Halton
 1937 I Met Him in Paris
George Potter
 1937 Captains Courageous
Mr. Cheyne
 1937 Women of Glamour
Richard 'Dick' Stark
 1936 Theodora Goes Wild
Michael Grant
 1936 The Gorgeous Hussy
John Randolph
 1936 And So They Were Married
Stephen Blake
 1935 The Lone Wolf Returns
Michael Lanyard
 1935 Annie Oakley
Jeff Hogarth
 1935 Mary Burns, Fugitive
Barton Powell
 1935 She Married Her Boss
Richard Barclay
 1935 People's Enemy
George R. 'Traps' Stuart
 1934 Woman in the Dark
Tony Robson
 1934 Dangerous Corner
Charles Stanton
 1933 Counsellor at Law
Roy Darwin
 1933 Nagana
Dr. Walter Tradnor
 1933 The Vampire Bat
Karl Brettschneider
 1932 The Old Dark House
 1932 As You Desire Me
Count Bruno Varelli
 1932 The Broken Wing
Philip 'Phil' Marvin
 1932 The Wiser Sex
David Rolfe
 1931 Prestige
Capt. Andre Verlaine
 1931 Tonight or Never
Jim Fletcher
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Show Show Self (27 credits)
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Personal Details

Other Works:

Stage Play: No More Ladies. Comedy [Return engagement]. Written by A.E. Thomas. Directed by Harry Wagstaff Gribble. Booth Theatre: 22 Oct 1934- Feb 1935 (closing date unknown/141 performances). Produced by Lee Shubert. See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Print Biography | 7 Articles | 2 Magazine Cover Photos | See more »

Alternate Names:

an old man


6' 1¼" (1.86 m)


Helen Gahagan  (her death)  (2 children) | See more »


Edouard Gregory Hesselberg | Lena Priscilla (Shackelford) Hesselberg


Illeana Douglas (grandchild)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

[on Being There (1979)] So much of what I had been thinking about in the recent past led me straight to that make-believe movie death scene. When it was completed, the sound stage full of people, perhaps forty or more, burst into emotional applause. I was startled. Hal [director Hal Ashby] told me later that I had made a little clicking sound in my throat, a "death rattle", which everyone "knew",... See more »


In 1967, he became the fifth performer to win the triple crown of acting. Oscar: Best Supporting Actor, Hud (1963) & Best Supporting Actor, Being There (1979), Tony: Best Actor-Play, The Best Man (1960), and Emmy: Best Actor-Drama, CBS Playhouse: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (1967) . See more »


He often played smooth characters with a strong sense of humor

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