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Overview (3)

Born in Tazewell, Virginia, USA
Died in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameFred McLeod Wilcox

Mini Bio (1)

Fred McLeod Wilcox was born in Tazewell, VA, on December 22, 1906, one of six children born to James Wilcox, a Kentucky optometrist and drugstore owner, who was married six times (twice to one woman). His six children were from his first wife.

Wilcox's six siblings (his father adopted his niece after the death of his sister in 1912) included actress Ruth Selwyn (born Ruth Wilcox), who was married to producer / director / writer / playwright Edgar Selwyn, one of the founders of Goldwyn Pictures, and former showgirl Pansy Wilcox Schenck (Mrs. Nicholas M. Schenck), who was married to Loew's Inc. President Nicholas M. Schenck, one of the pioneers of the film industry. Pansy Schenck was the mother-in-law of actor Helmut Dantine, with whom Wilcox worked on a film in India in 1962.

A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Wilcox began his film-industry career at MGM in its New York publicity department. He became an assistant to King Vidor in 1929, and worked on the great director's masterpiece, Hallelujah (1929). Subsequently he worked as a director shooting screen tests of new talent, then served an apprenticeship as an assistant director on three of his brother-in-law Edgar Selwyn's pictures. He also was an assistant- and second-unit director on two more films before moving to the short subjects unit in 1938.

After working his way up through the MGM shorts department, he got his shot as a feature director in 1943 with Lassie Come Home (1943), a classic family film that was enshrined on the National Film Preservation Board's National Film Registry in 1993. He also helmed the two sequels, Courage of Lassie (1946) and Hills of Home (1948). He had a sure hand with child actors, directing Margaret O'Brien in one of her most well-received pictures, The Secret Garden (1949). After directing some pictures for the studio's "B" unit, he made one more memorable film--the classic sci-fi epic Forbidden Planet (1956)--before leaving MGM in 1957 to become an independent producer/director. However, he only made one more film, a miscegenation tale called I Passed for White (1960), which he directed, produced and co-wrote. It starred James Franciscus and is most notable as the first American film for which five-time Oscar winner John Williams wrote the score.

Fred Wilcox died on September 23, 1964, in Beverly Hills, CA, survived by his son, Ron.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Trivia (6)

Educated at the University of Kentucky.
Brother-in-law of Nicholas Schenck, President of MGM.
He worked with his nephew-in-law, producer Nicholas Nayfack, on Forbidden Planet (1956) and was planning to direct a big-budget MGM sequel, to be titled "Robot Planet", when Nayfack died unexpectedly in 1958.
Brother of Mrs. Nicholas M. Schenck, née Pansy Wilcox.
Was the brother of actress Ruth Selwyn, who was married to producer/director/writer Edgar Selwyn.
Uncle of Niki Dantine.

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