JOHN HUSTON Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: John Marcellus Huston                                                                   
Born: 5 August 1906 Nevada, Missouri, U.S.                                                     
Died: 28 August 1987 Middletown, Rhode Island, U.S.                                           
John Marcellus Huston (August 5, 1906 – August 28, 1987) was an Academy Award-winning       
American film director and actor. He was known for directing several classic                   
films, The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Treasure of the               
Sierra Madre (1948), Key Largo (1948), and The African Queen (1951). He is the                 
father of actress Anjelica Huston and director Danny Huston, and his own father               
was actor Walter Huston.                                                                       
Huston was born in Nevada, Missouri, the son of the Canadian-born actor, Walter               
Huston, and Rhea Gore, a sports reporter; he was of Scots-Irish descent on his                 
father's side, his ancestrial surname was Houston, and English and Welsh on                   
his mother's. Huston was raised by his maternal grandparents, Adelia Richardson               
and John Marcellus Gore.                                                                       
As a ten year old he was stricken by a serious illness which left him all but                 
bedridden for several years. On his recuperation, this acted as the spur to                   
pursue a full life, both intellectually and physically.                                       
Huston began his film career as a screenwriter and made films mainly adapted                   
from books or plays. The six-foot-two-inch, brown-eyed director also acted in a               
number of films, with distinction in Otto Preminger's The Cardinal for which he               
was nominated for the Academy award for Best Supporting Actor and in Roman                     
Polanski's Chinatown as the film's central heavy against Jack Nicholson.                       
Huston's films were insightful about human nature and human predicaments. They                 
also sometimes included scenes or brief dialogue passages that were remarkably                 
prescient concerning environmental issues that came to public awareness in the                 
future, in the period starting about 1970; examples include The Treasure of the               
Sierra Madre (1948) and The Night of the Iguana (1964). Huston also directed The               
Misfits (1960) with an all-star cast including Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe,                   
Montgomery Clift, and Eli Wallach. Famously, Huston spent long evenings                       
carousing in the Nevada casinos after filming, surrounded by reporters and                     
beautiful women, gambling, drinking, and smoking cigars. Gable remarked during                 
this time that 'if he kept it up he would soon die of it'. Ironically, and                     
tragically, Gable died three weeks after the end of filming from a massive heart               
attack while Huston went on to live for twenty-six more years.                                 
After filming the documentary Let There Be Light on the psychiatric treatment of               
soldiers for shellshock, Huston resolved to make a film about Sigmund Freud and               
psychoanalysis. The film, Freud the Secret Passion, began as a collaboration                   
between Huston and Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre dropped out of the film and                       
requested his name be removed from the credits. Huston went on to make the film               
starring Montgomery Clift as Freud.                                                           
In the 1970s, he was a frequent actor in Italian films, but continued acting                   
until the age of 80 (Momo, 1986), one year before he passed away.                             
Huston is also famous to a generation of fans of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth               
stories as the voice of the wizard Gandalf in the Rankin/Bass animated                         
adaptations of The Hobbit (1977) and The Return of the King (1980).                           
Many of his films were edited by Russell Lloyd, who was nominated for an Oscar                 
for editing The Man Who Would Be King (1975).                                                 
In 1941, Huston was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay                 
for The Maltese Falcon. He was nominated again and won in 1948 for The Treasure               
of the Sierra Madre, for which he also received the Best Director award.                       
Huston received 15 Oscar nominations in the course of his career. In fact, he is               
the oldest person ever to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar when, at 79                 
years old, he was nominated for Prizzi's Honor (1985). He also has the unique                 
distinction of directing both his father Walter and his daughter Anjelica in                   
Oscar-winning performances (in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Prizzi's                   
Honor, respectively), making the Hustons the first family to have three                       
generations of Academy Award winners.