Sig Ruman

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Sig Ruman
Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937) trailer 1.jpg
L-R: George Cooper, Sig Rumann, and Peter Lorre in Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937)
Born
Siegfried Carl Alban Rumann

(1884-10-11)October 11, 1884
DiedFebruary 14, 1967(1967-02-14) (aged 82)
OccupationActor
Years active1928–66

Siegfried Carl Alban Rumann (October 11, 1884 February 14, 1967) billed as Sig Rumann and Sig Ruman, was a German-American character actor known for his portrayals of pompous and often stereotypically Teutonic officials or villains in more than 100 films. [1]

Teutons historical ethnic group

The Teutons were an ancient tribe mentioned by Roman authors. They are generally classified as a Germanic tribe. The Teutons are best known for their participation in the Cimbrian War with the Roman Republic in the late 2nd century BC.

Contents

Early years

Born in Hamburg, German Empire to Alban Julius Albrecht Ludwig Rumann and his wife, Caroline Margarethe Sophie Rumann on 11 October 1884 [2] , he studied electrical engineering, then began working as an actor and musician [3] before serving with the Imperial German Army during World War I. [4] He resumed his acting career after the war. [5] After his emigration to the United States in 1924, his acting career blossomed. Befriending playwright George S. Kaufman and theater critic Alexander Woollcott, he enjoyed success in many Broadway productions.

Hamburg City and federal state in Germany

Hamburg, officially the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is the second-largest city in Germany after Berlin and 8th largest city in the European Union with a population of over 1.8 million.

German Empire empire in Central Europe between 1871–1918

The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.

Electrical engineering Field of engineering that deals with electricity

Electrical engineering is a technical discipline concerned with the study, design and application of equipment, devices and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It emerged as an identified activity in the latter half of the 19th century after commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and electrical power generation, distribution and use.

Film

Hortense Alden, Sam Jaffe and Sig Ruman in the original Broadway production of Grand Hotel (1930) Alden-Jaffe-Rumann-Grand-Hotel-1930.jpg
Hortense Alden, Sam Jaffe and Sig Ruman in the original Broadway production of Grand Hotel (1930)

Ruman made his film debut in Lucky Boy (1929). [1]

He became a favorite of the Marx Brothers, appearing in A Night at the Opera , A Day at the Races , and A Night in Casablanca . His German accent and large stature kept him busy during World War II, playing sinister Nazi characters in a series of wartime thrillers.

Marx Brothers American comedy troupe

The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act that was successful in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in motion pictures from 1905 to 1949. Five of the Marx Brothers' thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute (AFI) as among the top 100 comedy films, with two of them in the top fifteen. They are widely considered by critics, scholars, and fans to be among the greatest and most influential comedians of the 20th century. The brothers were included in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars list of the 25 greatest male stars of Classical Hollywood cinema, the only performers to be inducted collectively.

<i>A Night at the Opera</i> (film) 1935 Marx Brothers film by Sam Wood

A Night at the Opera is a 1935 American comedy film starring the Marx Brothers, and featuring Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Margaret Dumont, Sig Ruman, and Walter Woolf King. It was the first of five films the Marx Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after their departure from Paramount Pictures, and the first after Zeppo left the act. The film was adapted by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind from a story by James Kevin McGuinness, with additional dialogue by Al Boasberg. It was directed by Sam Wood.

<i>A Day at the Races</i> (film) 1937 Marx Brothers film by Sam Wood

A Day at the Races (1937) is the seventh film starring the Marx Brothers, with Margaret Dumont, Allan Jones, and Maureen O'Sullivan. Like their previous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer feature A Night at the Opera, this film was a major hit.

During this period, he also appeared in several films by director Ernst Lubitsch, a fellow German émigré, including Ninotchka (1939) (in which he portrayed a Russian) and To Be or Not to Be (1942). He played the role of Professor Herman Von Reiter in Shining Victory (1941), an adaptation of an A. J. Cronin play. Ruman continued his trend of portraying over-the-top German characters later in his career for Lubitsch's protege Billy Wilder, in his films The Emperor Waltz (1948), Stalag 17 (1953), One, Two, Three (1961), and The Fortune Cookie (1966).

Ernst Lubitsch German American actor, screenwriter, producer and film director

Ernst Lubitsch was a German American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as his prestige grew, his films were promoted as having "the Lubitsch touch". Among his best known works are Trouble in Paradise, Design for Living, Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner, To Be or Not to Be and Heaven Can Wait.

<i>Ninotchka</i> 1939 film by Ernst Lubitsch

Ninotchka is a 1939 American comedy film made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by producer and director Ernst Lubitsch and starring Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas. It was written by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Walter Reisch, based on a screen story by Melchior Lengyel. Ninotchka is Greta Garbo's first full comedy, and her penultimate film. It is one of the first American movies which, under the cover of a satirical, light romance, depicted the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin as being rigid and gray, in this instance comparing it with the free and sunny Parisian society of pre-war years.

Russians are an East Slavic ethnic group and nation native to European Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe, the most numerous ethnic group in Europe. The majority of ethnic Russians live in the Russian Federation, notable minorities exist in other former Soviet states such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine and the Baltic states. A large Russian diaspora also exists all over the world, with notable numbers in the United States, Germany, Brazil, and Canada. The culture of the ethnic Russian people has a long tradition and it is a foundation for the modern culture of the whole of Russia. The Russian language originally was the language of ethnic Russians. They are historically Orthodox Christians by religion.

Around 1936, Ruman modified his screen name from Siegfried Rumann to Sig Ruman in an attempt to make it a little less German-sounding, as anti-German prejudice was rising at that time, just prior to the beginning of the Second World War.

Despite declining health during the 1950s and 1960s, Ruman continued to appear in films and made many guest appearances on television.

Television Telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images

Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in colour, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.

Death

Ruman died of a heart attack on February 14, 1967, outside his home in Julian, California. He was 82 and was survived by his wife Else and their daughter Senta. [6]

Selected filmography

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References

  1. 1 2 Hischak, Thomas S. (2008). The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 650. ISBN   9780195335330 . Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  2. Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland
  3. Neuer Theater Almanach: Theatergeschichtliches Jahr und Adressen-Buch, 1913, p. 524
  4. Petitions for Naturalization From the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944. NARA Microfilm Publication M1972, 1457 rolls. Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21.
  5. Deutsches Bühnen-Jahrbuch: Theatergeschichtliches Jahr- und Adressenbuch, 1920, p. 255
  6. Willis, John (1983). Screen World 1968. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 239. ISBN   9780819603098 . Retrieved 11 October 2017.