JOHN HOUSEMAN Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: John Houseman                                                                         
Birth name: Jacques Haussmann                                                               
Born: 22 September 1902 Bucharest, Romania                                                 
Died: 31 October 1988 Malibu, California                                                   
John Houseman (September 22, 1902—October 31, 1988) was an American actor and             
film producer.                                                                             
Houseman was born Jacques Haussmann in Bucharest, the son of a British mother of           
Welsh and Irish descent and an Alsatian-born Jewish father who ran a grain                 
business. He was educated in England at Clifton College before                             
emigrating to the United States in 1925, where he took the stage name of John               
Houseman. He became a citizen of the U.S. in 1943. Houseman died of spinal                 
cancer in 1988 at his home in Malibu, California. He was 86 years old.                     
Along with Orson Welles, Houseman founded the Mercury Theatre, best remembered             
for their 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Houseman             
produced more than two dozen films, including the 1946 film noir, The Blue                 
Dahlia. He first became widely known to the public, however, for his Golden                 
Globe and Academy Award-winning role as Professor Charles Kingsfield in the 1973           
film The Paper Chase, a role which he reprised in the television series of the             
same name.                                                                                 
He was the Executive Producer of CBS' landmark Seven Lively Arts series.                   
Houseman also played Energy Corporation Executive Bartholomew in the 1975 film             
Rollerball and parodied Sydney Greenstreet in the 1978 Neil Simon film, The                 
Cheap Detective.                                                                           
In the 1980s, Houseman was also known for his role as grandfather Edward                   
Stratton II in Silver Spoons, which starred Rick Schroder, and for his                     
commercials for brokerage Smith Barney, which featured the catchphrase, "They               
make money the old fashioned way...they earn it." He also made a guest                     
appearance in John Carpenter's 1980 movie The Fog as Mr. Machen. He played the             
Jewish professor Aaron Jastrow in the 1983 miniseries The Winds of War.                     
Houseman taught acting at The Juilliard School where his first graduating class             
included Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone. Unwilling to see his first class                     
immediately disbanded by the testing world of stage and screen, he formed them             
into a touring repertory company appropriately named the Group 1 Acting Company.           
They later shortened their name simply to The Acting Company and are still                 
touring the country today.                                                                 
He appeared in The Naked Gun, which was released after his death.                           
In February, 2008 filming began on the movie Me and Orson Welles. The film tells           
the story of Houseman's relationship with Orson Welles when running The Mercury             
Theatre in New York in the late 1930's. The film is using The Gaiety Theatre on             
the Isle of Man to replicate The Mercury.