Victor Fleming entered the film business as a stuntman in 1910, mainly doing stunt driving - which came easy to him, as he had been a mechanic and professional race-car driver. He became interested in working on the other side of the camera, and eventually got a job as a cameraman on many of the films of Douglas Fairbanks. He soon began directing, and his first big hit was The Virginian (1929). It was the movie that turned Gary Cooper into a star (a fact Cooper never forgot; he and Fleming remained friends for life). Fleming's star continued to rise during the '30s, and he was responsible for many of the films that would eventually be considered classics, such as Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), Treasure Island (1934), and the two films that were the high marks of his career: Gone with the Wind (1939) and The Wizard of Oz (1939). Ironically Fleming was brought in on both pictures to replace other directors and smooth out the troubled productions, a feat he accomplished masterfully. His career took somewhat of a downturn in the '40s, and most of his films, with the exception of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), weren't particularly successful. He ended his career with the troubled production Joan of Arc (1948), which turned out to be a major critical and financial failure.
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