FREDRIC MARCH Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel                                                       
Born: 31 August 1897 Racine, Wisconsin, United States                                       
Died: 14 April 1975 Los Angeles, California, United States                                   
Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel (August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was a two-time         
Academy Award-winning American actor.                                                       
Born in Racine, Wisconsin, he attended the Winslow Elementary School (established           
in 1855), Racine High School, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he               
was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. He began a career as a banker, but an emergency             
appendectomy caused him to reevaluate his life, and in 1920 he began working as             
an extra in movies made in New York City, using a shortened form of his mother's             
maiden name, Marcher. He appeared on Broadway in 1926, and by the end of the                 
decade signed a film contract with Paramount Pictures.                                       
March won an Oscar nomination in 1930 for The Royal Family of Broadway, in which             
he played a role based upon John Barrymore. He won the Oscar for Best Actor in               
1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and again in 1946 for The Best Years of Our               
Lives. On March 25, 1954, March co-hosted the 26th Annual Academy Awards                     
ceremony from New York City, with co-host Donald O'Connor in Los Angeles.                   
March in A Star is Born (1937)                                                               
March was one of the few actors to resist signing long-term contracts with the               
studios, and was able to freelance and pick and choose his roles, in the process             
also avoiding typecasting. By this time, he was working on Broadway as often as             
in Hollywood, and his screen career was not as prolific as it had been.                     
March, however, won two Best Actor Tony Awards: in 1947 for the play Years Ago,             
written by Ruth Gordon; and in 1957 for a Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's           
Long Day's Journey Into Night.                                                               
March's neighbor in Connecticut, playwright Arthur Miller, was thought to favor             
March to inaugurate the part of Willy Loman in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Death             
of a Salesman (1949). However, director Elia Kazan cast Lee J. Cobb as Willy                 
Loman, and Arthur Kennedy as his son Biff Loman, two men that the director had               
worked with in the film Boomerang (1947). March later played Willy Loman in                 
Columbia Pictures's 1951 film version of the play, directed by Laslo Benedek.               
Perhaps March's greatest late-in-life role was in Inherit the Wind (1960),                   
opposite Spencer Tracy.                                                                     
When March underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 1972, it seemed his career               
was over, yet he managed to give one last great performance in The Iceman Cometh             
(1973), as the complicated Irish bartender, Harry Hope. Ironically, co-star                 
Robert Ryan was entering the final stages of lung cancer, so the film was the               
last for both March and Ryan.                                                               
Although March died in Los Angeles, California at the age of 77 from cancer, he             
considered the rural Litchfield County town of New Milford, Connecticut his                 
primary residence since the 1930's. This property was subsequently home to                   
American playwright Lillian Hellman as well as former Secretary of State Henry               
Kissinger. March was married to actress Florence Eldridge from 1927 until his               
death, and they had 2 adopted children.                                                     
Throughout his life, he and his wife were supporters of the Democratic Party and             
liberal political causes. His support for the Republican (Second Spanish                     
Republic) side during the Spanish Civil War was particularly controversial.                 
March has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1616 Vine Street.