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Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel
August 31, 1897
Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||April 14, 1975 77) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(m. 1921;div. 1927)
Fredric March (born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel; August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was an American actor, regarded as one of Hollywood's most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and 1940s. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), as well as the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for Years Ago (1947) and Long Day's Journey into Night (1956).
March is one of only two actors, the other being Helen Hayes, to have won both the Academy Award and the Tony Award twice.
March was born in Racine, Wisconsin, the son of Cora Brown Marcher (1863–1936), a schoolteacher from England, [ citation needed ]and John F. Bickel (1859–1941), a devout Presbyterian Church elder who worked in the wholesale hardware business. March 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 was also a member of an interfraternity society composed of leading students formed at the college in 1919 named the Ku Klux Klan.The fraternity organization was not affiliated with the national Ku Klux Klan. For more detail, see § Ku Klux Klan controversy
March served in the United States Army during World War I as an artillery lieutenant.
He began a career as a banker, but an emergency appendectomy caused him to re-evaluate 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. He appeared on Broadway in 1926, and by the end of the decade, he signed a film contract with Paramount Pictures.
"March's special ability was to suggest genuine mental pain. As a portrayer of tortured and distressed men, he has no equal. The complete physical control which allows him convincingly to sag, stoop and collapse is assisted by a face suggesting at the same time both intelligence and sensitivity"—Australian-born film historian John Baxter.
Like Laurence Olivier, March had a rare protean quality to his acting that allowed him to assume almost any persona convincingly, from Robert Browning to William Jennings Bryan to Dr Jekyll - or Mr. Hyde. He received an Oscar nomination for the 4th Academy Awards in 1930 for The Royal Family of Broadway , in which he played a role modeled on John Barrymore. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 5th Academy Awards in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (tied with Wallace Beery for The Champ , although March accrued one more vote than Beery). This led to roles in a series of classic films based on stage hits and classic novels like Design for Living (1933) with Gary Cooper and Miriam Hopkins; Death Takes a Holiday (1934); Les Misérables (1935) with Charles Laughton; Anna Karenina (1935) with Greta Garbo; Anthony Adverse (1936) with Olivia de Havilland; and as the original Norman Maine in A Star is Born (1937) with Janet Gaynor, for which he received his third Academy Award nomination.
March resisted signing long-term contracts with the studios,enabling him to play roles in films from a variety of studios. He returned to Broadway after a ten-year absence in 1937 with a notable flop, Yr. Obedient Husband, but after the success of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth , he focused as much on Broadway as on Hollywood. He won two Best Actor Tony Awards: in 1947 for the play Years Ago, written by Ruth Gordon and in 1957 for his performance as James Tyrone in the original Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night . He also had major successes in A Bell for Adano in 1944 and Gideon in 1961, and he played in Ibsen's An Enemy of the People on Broadway in 1951. During this period, he also starred in films, including I Married a Witch (1942) and Another Part of the Forest (1948). March won his second Oscar in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives .
March also branched out into television, winning Emmy nominations for his third attempt at The Royal Family for the series The Best of Broadway as well as for television performances as Samuel Dodsworth and Ebenezer Scrooge. 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'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, March read the play and turned down the role, whereupon director Elia Kazan cast Lee J. Cobb as Willy and Arthur Kennedy as one of Willy's sons, Biff Loman. Cobb and Kennedy were two actors with whom the director had worked in the film Boomerang (1947). March later regretted turning down the role and finally played Willy Loman in Columbia Pictures's 1951 film version of the play, directed by Laslo Benedek. March earned his fifth and final Oscar nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award. He also played one of two leads in The Desperate Hours (1955) with Humphrey Bogart. Bogart and Spencer Tracy had both insisted upon top billing, and Tracy withdrew, leaving the part available for March.
In 1957, March was awarded the George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for "distinguished contribution to the art of film".
On February 12, 1959, March appeared before a joint session of the 86th United States Congress, reading the Gettysburg Address as part of a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.
March co-starred with Spencer Tracy in the 1960 Stanley Kramer film Inherit the Wind , in which he played a dramatized version of famous orator and political figure William Jennings Bryan. March's Bible-thumping character provided a rival for Tracy's Clarence Darrow-inspired character. In the 1960s, March's film career continued with a performance as President Jordan Lyman in the political thriller Seven Days in May (1964) in which he co-starred with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Edmond O'Brien; the part earned March a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actor.
March made several spoken word recordings, including a version of Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant issued in 1945 in which he narrated and played the title role, and The Sounds of History , a twelve volume LP set accompanying the twelve volume set of books The Life History of the United States, published by Time-Life. The recordings were narrated by Charles Collingwood, with March and his wife Florence Eldridge performing dramatic readings from historical documents and literature.
Following surgery for prostate cancer in 1970, it seemed his career was over; yet, he managed to give one last performance in The Iceman Cometh (1973) as the complicated Irish saloon keeper, Harry Hope.
March was married to actress Florence Eldridge from 1927 until his death in 1975, and they had two adopted children. They appeared in seven films together, the last being Inherit the Wind. [ citation needed ]He died of prostate cancer, at the age of 77, in Los Angeles, and he was buried at his estate in New Milford, Connecticut.
March and Eldridge commissioned Wallace Neff to build their house in Ridgeview Dive, Bel Air, in 1934. It has subsequently been owned by the philanthropist Wallis Annenberg and the actors Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
Throughout his life, he and his wife were supporters of the Democratic Party.
In July 1936, March co-founded the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League (HANL),along with the writers Dorothy Parker and Donald Ogden Stewart, the director Fritz Lang, and the composer Oscar Hammerstein.
In 1938, March was one of many Hollywood personalities who were investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and the hunt for Communists in the film community. In July 1940, he was among a number of individuals who were questioned by a HUAC subcommittee which was led by Representative Martin Dies Jr.
Later, in 1948, he and his wife sued the anti-communist publication Counterattack for defamation, seeking $250,000 in damages.The suit was settled out of court.
March has a star for motion pictures on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1620 Vine Street.
Biographies of March include Fredric March: Craftsman First, Star Second by Deborah C. Peterson (1996),and Fredric March: A Consummate Actor (2013) by Charles Tranberg.
The 500-seat theater at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh was formerly named after March.The University of Wisconsin–Madison had named the 168-seat at the Memorial Union as the Fredric March Play Circle Theater; however, in 2018, his name was removed, after student protests following a report detailing March's membership in a student fraternal organization calling itself Ku Klux Klan. UW–Oshkosh pulled March's name from what is now the Theatre Arts Center shortly before the 2020–21 academic term. The fraternity, that March briefly was a member of, was not affiliated with the KKK. When the collegiate organization was named, the (later national) KKK was a small regional organization. As the national KKK became more well known, the collegiate organization changed its name. In contrast to the views of the national KKK, March was an outspoken proponent of the civil rights movement and worked with the NAACP.
|1921||The Education of Elizabeth||Extra||Uncredited|
|The Great Adventure||Extra||Uncredited|
|Paying the Piper||Extra||Uncredited|
|1929||The Dummy||Trumbull Meredith|
|The Wild Party||James 'Gil' Gilmore|
|The Studio Murder Mystery||Richard Hardell|
|Paris Bound||Jim Hutton|
|Footlights and Fools||Gregory Pyne||lost film; the soundtrack survives|
|The Marriage Playground||Martin Boyne|
|1930||Sarah and Son||Howard Vanning|
|Paramount on Parade||Doughboy||Cameo|
|Ladies Love Brutes||Dwight Howell|
|True to the Navy||Bull's Eye McCoy|
|The Royal Family of Broadway||Tony Cavendish||Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor|
|1931||Honor Among Lovers||Jerry Stafford|
|The Night Angel||Rudek Berken|
|My Sin||Dick Grady|
|Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde||Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr Edward Hyde||Academy Award for Best Actor (tied with Wallace Beery for The Champ )|
|1932||Strangers in Love||Buddy Drake / Arthur Drake|
|Merrily We Go to Hell||Jerry Corbett|
|Make Me a Star||Himself||behind-the-scenes drama, Uncredited|
|Smilin' Through||Kenneth Wayne|
|The Sign of the Cross||Marcus Superbus|
|Hollywood on Parade No. A-1||Himself||short film|
|1933||Tonight Is Ours||Sabien Pastal|
|The Eagle and the Hawk||Jerry H. Young||With Cary Grant and Carole Lombard|
|Design for Living||Thomas B. 'Tom' Chambers||With Gary Cooper and Miriam Hopkins|
|1934||All of Me||Don Ellis||With Miriam Hopkins and George Raft|
|Good Dame||Mace Townsley|
|Death Takes a Holiday||Prince Sirki / Death|
|The Affairs of Cellini||Benvenuto Cellini|
|The Barretts of Wimpole Street||Robert Browning||With Norma Shearer and Charles Laughton|
|We Live Again||Prince Dmitri Nekhlyudov|
|Hollywood on Parade No. B-6||Himself||short film|
|1935||Les Misérables||Jean Valjean / Champmathieu|
|Anna Karenina||Count Vronsky||With Greta Garbo|
|The Dark Angel||Alan Trent|
|Screen Snapshots Series 14, No. 11||Himself||short film|
|1936||The Road to Glory||Lieutenant Michel Denet|
|Mary of Scotland||Bothwell||With Katharine Hepburn |
Directed by John Ford
|Anthony Adverse||Anthony Adverse||With Olivia de Havilland|
|Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 3||Himself||short film|
|1937||A Star Is Born||Norman Maine||Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor |
With Janet Gaynor
|Nothing Sacred||Wallace 'Wally' Cook|
|Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 5||Himself||short film|
|1938||The Buccaneer||Jean Lafitte|
|There Goes My Heart||Bill Spencer|
|Trade Winds||Sam Wye|
|1939||The 400 Million||Narrator||Documentary of Chinese history|
|1940||Susan and God||Barrie Trexel|
|Lights Out in Europe||Narrator||War documentary about the outbreak of World War II in Europe|
|1941||So Ends Our Night||Josef Steiner|
|One Foot in Heaven||William Spence|
|Bedtime Story||Lucius 'Luke' Drake||With Loretta Young and Robert Benchley|
|1942||I Married a Witch||Jonathan Wooley / Nathaniel Wooley / Samuel Wooley||With Veronica Lake and Robert Benchley|
|Lake Carrier||Narrator||Documentary short|
|1944||Valley of the Tennessee||Narrator||Voice|
|The Adventures of Mark Twain||Samuel Langhorne Clemens|
|Tomorrow, the World!||Mike Frame|
|1946||The Best Years of Our Lives||Al Stephenson|| Academy Award for Best Actor |
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
With Myrna Loy
|1948||Another Part of the Forest||Marcus Hubbard|
|An Act of Murder||Judge Calvin Cooke|
|1949||Christopher Columbus||Christopher Columbus|
|The Ford Theatre Hour||Oscar Jaffe||Television |
Episode: "The Twentieth Century"
|1950||The Titan: Story of Michelangelo||Narrator||documentary about the life and works of Michelangelo Buonarroti|
|The Nash Airflyte Theater||Television|
Episode: "The Boor"
|1951||It's a Big Country||Joe Esposito|
|Death of a Salesman||Willy Loman|| Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama |
Volpi Cup for Best Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
|Lux Video Theatre||Television|
Episode: "The Speech"
|1952||Lux Video Theatre||Captain Matt||Television|
Episode: "Ferry Crisis at Friday Point"
|Toast of the Town||Himself||later known as The Ed Sullivan Show|
|1953||25th Academy Awards||Himself||presenter Academy Award for Best Actress to Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba|
Episode: "The Last Night of Don Juan"
|Man on a Tightrope||Karel Cernik||With Terry Moore and Gloria Grahame|
|1954||The Bridges at Toko-Ri||Rear Admiral George Tarrant|
|26th Academy Awards||Himself||Co-hosted from New York, with Donald O'Connor in Hollywood|
|Executive Suite||Loren Phineas Shaw|| Venice Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting (shared with the principal cast)|
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
|The Best of Broadway||Tony Cavendish||Television|
Episode: "The Royal Family" (based on March's Broadway play and film of the same name)
Nominated — Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor
|Shower of Stars||Ebenezer Scrooge||Television|
Episode: "A Christmas Carol"
Nominated — Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor
|What's My Line?||Himself|
|1955||The Desperate Hours||Dan C. Hilliard||With Humphrey Bogart|
|1956||Alexander the Great||Philip II of Macedon|
|The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit||Ralph Hopkins|
|Producers' Showcase||Sam Dodsworth||Television|
Nominated — Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor
|Shower of Stars||Eugene Tesh||Television|
Episode: "The Flattering World"
|Island of Allah||Narrator|
|1957||Toast of the Town||Himself||later known as The Ed Sullivan Show|
|1958||The DuPont Show of the Month||Arthur Winslow||Television|
Episode: "The Winslow Boy"
|Tales from Dickens||Host||also known as Fredric March Presents Tales From Dickens, March hosted seven episodes during 1958 and 1959. |
Episodes: "Bardell Versus Pickwick", "Uriah Heep", "A Christmas Carol", "David and Betsy Trotwood", "David and His Mother", "Christmas at Dingley Dell", and "The Runaways"
|1959||Middle of the Night||Jerry Kingsley||Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama |
Written by Paddy Chayefsky
|1960||Inherit the Wind||Matthew Harrison Brady||Won — Silver Bear for Best Actor (Berlin Film Festival) |
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
With Spencer Tracy
|1961||The Young Doctors||Dr. Joseph Pearson|
|1962|| I Sequestrati di Altona |
(The Condemned of Altona)
|Albrecht von Gerlach|
|1963||A Tribute to John F. Kennedy from the Arts||Host||broadcast on November 24, 1963, two days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy|
|1964||Seven Days in May||President Jordan Lyman|| David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actor |
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
With Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas
|The Presidency: A Splendid Mystery||Narrator||Television|
|1967||Hombre||Dr. Alex Favor||Nominated — Laurel Award for Top Male Supporting Performance |
With Paul Newman
|1970||…tick…tick…tick…||Mayor Jeff Parks|
|1973||The Iceman Cometh||Harry Hope||With Lee Marvin and Robert Ryan |
(final film role)
|1942||Lux Radio Theatre||One Foot in Heaven|
|1946||Academy Award||A Star Is Born|
|1949||The MGM Theater of the Air||Citadel|
|1953||Theatre Guild on the Air||Cass Timberlane|
|1953||Star Playhouse||A Bell for Adano|
|1953||Star Playhouse||There Shall Be No Night|
Congress gets into the act tomorrow, when a joint session will be held. Carl Sandburg, famed Lincoln biographer, will give and address, and actor Fredric March will read the Gettysburg Address.
The Ku Klux Klan, commonly shortened to the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist terrorist hate group whose primary targets are African Americans as well as Jews, immigrants, leftists, homosexuals, Catholics, Muslims, and atheists.
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