Mitchell Leisen (October 6, 1898 – October 28, 1972) was an American director, art director, and costume designer from Menominee, Michigan.

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Film career Edit

He entered the film industry in the 1920s, beginning in the art and costume departments. He directed his first film in 1933 with Cradle Song and became known for his keen sense of aesthetics in the glossy Hollywood melodramas and screwball comedies he turned out.

His best known films include the Alberto Casella adaptation Death Takes a Holiday andMurder at the Vanities, a musical mystery story (both 1934), as well as Midnight (1939) andHold Back the Dawn (1941), both scripted byBilly Wilder. Easy Living (1937), written byPreston Sturges and starring Jean Arthur, was another hit for the director, who also directed Remember the Night (1940), the last film written by Sturges before he started directing his scripts as well. The films Lady in the Dark (1944), To Each His Own (1946), andNo Man of Her Own (1950) were later successes. Also Charles Brackett's comedyThe Mating Season (1951) starring Gene Tierney, Miriam Hopkins and Thelma Ritterwas an updated version of Leisen's earlierscrewball comedies of the 1930s, and was also his last big movie success.[citation needed]

When his film career ended, Leisen directed episodes of The Twilight ZoneThrillerShirley Temple's Storybook and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. He also bought a nightclub.[1]

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Leisen's card from The Big Broadcast of 1938s credits.

Personal lifeEdit

Though married, Leisen was reported to be gay or bisexual. According to Carolyn Roos, Leisen's longtime business manager's daughter, he had a very long relationship with dancer/actor/choreographer Billy Daniel up until the 1950s (Daniel died in 1962).[2][3]Leisen along with Daniel and dancer/actorMary Parker formed Hollywood Presents a means of promoting both Daniel and Parker off-screen.[4] Leisen died of heart disease in 1972, aged 74. His grave is located in Chapel of the Pines Crematory.

Awards Edit

He garnered his sole Academy Awardnomination in 1930, for Art Direction, for Cecil B. DeMille's Dynamite.[5] Hold Back the Dawn(1941) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture; while it received five other nominations as well, it wasn't nominated for Best Directing.

Filmography (as director) Edit

Year Title Production Co. Cast Notes
1933 Cradle Song Paramount Dorothea Wieck /Evelyn Venable
1934 Bolero Paramount George Raft/ Carole Lombard Co-directed with Wesley Ruggles
1934 Death Takes a Holiday Paramount Fredric March /Evelyn Venable Released to DVD.
1934 Murder at the Vanities Paramount Victor McLaglen /Jack Oakie /Carl Brisson
1934 Behold My Wife Paramount Gene Raymond /Ann Sheridan /Sylvia Sydney
1935 Four Hours to Kill! Paramount Richard Barthelmess/ Ray Milland /Gertrude Michael
1935 Hands Across the Table Paramount Carole Lombard /Fred MacMurray
1936 Thirteen Hours by Air Paramount Fred MacMurray/ Joan Bennett /Zasu Pitts
1936 The Big Broadcast of 1937 Paramount Jack Benny/ George Burns /Gracie Allen/ Ray Milland
1937 Swing High, Swing Low Paramount Carole Lombard /Fred MacMurray/ Dorothy Lamour Released to DVD.
1937 Easy Living Paramount Jean Arthur/ Edward Arnold / Ray Milland Released to DVD.
1938 The Big Broadcast of 1938 Paramount W.C. Fields /Martha Raye / Bob Hope /Dorothy Lamour Released to DVD.
1938 Artists and Models Abroad Paramount Jack Benny/ Joan Bennett Released to DVD.
1939 Midnight Paramount Claudette Colbert /Don Ameche /John Barrymore /Mary Astor Released to DVD.
1940 Remember the Night Paramount Barbara Stanwyck /Fred MacMurray Released to DVD.
1940 Arise, My Love Paramount Claudette Colbert /Ray Milland
1941 I Wanted Wings Paramount Ray Milland/ William Holden /Wayne Morris /Veronica Lake
1941 Hold Back the Dawn Paramount Charles Boyer /Olivia De Havilland /Paulette Goddard Nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture.

Released to DVD (region 2).

1942 The Lady is Willing Paramount Marlene Dietrich /Fred MacMurray
1942 Take a Letter, Darling Paramount Rosalind Russell /Fred MacMurray
1943 No Time for Love Paramount Claudette Colbert /Fred MacMurray
1944 Lady in the Dark Paramount Ginger Rogers /Ray Milland Technicolorfilm
1944 Frenchman's Creek Paramount Joan Fontaine /Arturo de Córdova /Basil Rathbone /Nigel Bruce Technicolorfilm
1944 Practically Yours Paramount Claudette Colbert /Fred MacMurray
1945 Kitty Paramount Paulette Goddard /Fred MacMurray
1945 Masquerade in Mexico Paramount Dorothy Lamour /Arturo de Córdova
1946 To Each His Own Paramount Olivia de Havilland /John Lund Academy Award for Best Actress.

Released to VHS.

1947 Suddenly, It's Spring Paramount Paulette Goddard /Fred MacMurray
1947 Golden Earrings Paramount Marlene Dietrich /Ray Milland
1948 Dream Girl Paramount Betty Hutton/ Macdonald Carey
1949 Bride of Vengeance Paramount Paulette Goddard /Macdonald Carey /John Lund
1949 Song of Surrender Paramount Claude Rains /Wanda Hendrix /Macdonald Carey
1950 No Man of Her Own Paramount Barbara Stanwyck /John Lund
1950 Captain Carey, U.S.A. Paramount Alan Ladd /Wanda Hendrix
1951 The Mating Season Paramount Gene Tierney /John Lund /Miriam Hopkins /Thelma Ritter NominatedAcademy Award for Best Supporting ActressThelma Ritter
1951 Darling, How Could You! Paramount Joan Fontaine /John Lund
1952 Young Man with Ideas MGM Glenn Ford
1953 Tonight We Sing 20th Century Fox David Wayne /Ezio Pinza /Roberta Peters /Tamara Toumanova Technicolorfilm
1955 Bedevilled MGM Anne Baxter/ Steve Forrest Co-directed with Richard Thorpe /Eastmancolorfilm
1958 The Girl Most Likely RKO Radio Pictures Jane Powell/ Cliff Robertson Technicolorfilm
1967 Spree Trans American Co-directed with Walon Green / Documentary / Color film


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