Biography of George Cukor (1899-1983)

Director and producer of American cinema born on July 7, 1899 in New York (United States) and died on January 24, 1983, in Los Angeles (California). His full name was George Dewey Cukor.

He studied law at the De Witt Clinton High School of New York, career that did not exercise due to a passion for the theatre, to which he devoted many years of his life. His skill as a director of actors and their mastery of the technique already began to form on Broadway, where he worked as a director before turning to cinema. This theatrical hobby inherited it from his mother, who used to dress up to entertain her friends, imitating famous actresses. The concept of the disguise, even the transformism, will be collected and honored by the director in several of their titles, such as stories of Philadelphia (1940), the rib of Adam (1949) or light that dying (1944). Extended knowledge of that Cukor was homosexual found his anchor in many of these details, but Hollywood softened the supposed "lack" describing him as a "director of actresses". Is true that got that eight of his actresses were nominated to the Oscar, but is no less true that Cukor got to leave that qualifier in a mere anecdote thanks to their knowledge do.

Cukor began his film career with Grumpy (1930), a melodrama starring Cyril Maude and based on a play. During the Decade of the thirties began to show interest in all types of stories, from Tallulah Bankhead, Honor besmirched (1931) or Hollywood starring drama the naked truth (1932), whose screenplay was nominated for the Oscar, to the romantic comedy dinner at eight (1933), starring Marie Dressler. In 1935, he directed one of his greatest hits from critics and audiences within the Decade, David Copperfield, based on the novel by Charles Dickens and starring Freddie Bartholomew. The film was nominated for the Oscar, as well as the Assembly. It was the great asset for that year of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and the investment paid off; but those who most benefit obtained from the film were no doubt their actors, since David Copperfield showed himself as an invaluable vehicle for names such as Basil Rathbone, Edna May Oliver, or the same Lionel Barrymore, who played a small role.

George Cukor discovered Cary Grant as the actor best equipped for the romantic comedy from the great adventure of Silvia (1936), based on the novel by Compton MacKenzie. The same would go you into two more titles, live to enjoy (1938) and Philadelphia (1940) stories, but also launched other careers, like Jack Lemmon, Anthony Perkins, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

Starting from 1936 became a most romantic stage in the career of Cukor, with titles such as Romeo and Juliet (1936), with Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in the main roles; The Lady of the camellias (1937), with Greta Garbo , nominated for the Oscar for best actress; and live to enjoy (1938), again exploiting the reef Grant-Hepburn, showed different faces of the romance, Cukor dominating masterfully. Also he flirted with the adventure films, with titles such as the prisoner of Zenda (1937) and the adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1938), although it does not appeared in the credits.

After being one of the directors who passed through the backdrop for what the wind (1939), Cukor began a series of titles that were clearly dedicated to the female world: women (1939), with a cast of luxury, with a few hundred and thirty characters, all of them female; Susan And God (1940) and a face of woman (1941), both Starring Joan Crawford; or the woman of two faces (1941), where repeated with panache (his last character), attest to his knowledge of the feminine universe.

In 1944 Cukor addressed the suspense, adapting the play by Patrick Hamilton light that agony, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, and where Angela Lansbury made his debut; with this film he approached the Gothic melodrama, sharing issue and interest with other titles in the Decade. Produced in the bosom of the Metro Glodwyn Mayer, earned eight nominations to the Oscar, reaching the award for the best actress and best interior decoration.

The romantic comedy to Cukor was adapting to the different decades, and arriving in the sixties the Monroe myth also made appearance in his filmography (in billionaire, the own Arthur Miller revised the script to emphasize more the role of his wife, which caused that prestige actors rejected to play the male lead, it was accepted by Yves MontandIt had played previously the witches of Salem (1957), based also in another work of Miller).

My Fair Lady (1964) was the success of a decade where the director began to space their work. Audrey Hepburn joined successful female legion that had gone through the direction of Cukor, although it did not appear among the twelve nominations (eight Oscar) which won the film, during whose shooting was assassinated President Kennedy. In his last five titles, two were works for television, and the other three closed with a flourish the fruitful relationship that the director had with the actresses. Travels with my aunt (1972), based on the novel by Graham Greene, resumed the comedy and gave one of his best roles to the British Maggie Smith, who was nominated for the Oscar. The Blue Bird (1976), a tale starring Jane Fonda and Ava Gardner, in which the search for "bird of happiness" became the main goal of two peasant children. And, finally, rich and famous (1981), Cukor directed with eighty-two years, and which starred Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen, in a touching and realistic portrait of friendship.

Cukor was always a much appreciated by European film intellectuals director; among others, Fran├žois Truffaut or Eric Rohmer recognized his artistic and creative capacity and identified with his unique treatment of the middle class



As director:

1930: Grumpy; Virtuous without; The Royal Family of Broadway. 1931: Honor besmirched; Girls About Town. 1932: One hour with you (some sequences); Hollywood naked; Bill of Divorcement; Temptation. 1933: Our Betters; Dinner at eight o'clock; The four sisters. 1934: David Copperfield. 1935: The great adventure of Silvia; No more women (various streams). 1936: Romeo and Juliet; The Lady of the camellias. 1938: Live to enjoy. 1939: Zaza; What the wind (several sequences); Women; The wizard of Oz (multiple streams). 1940: stories of Philadelphia; Susan And God. 1941: A woman's face; The woman of the two sides. 1942: Keeper of the Flame; Her Carboard Lover. 1943: Resistance And Ohm completo Law (documentary). 1944: The light that dying; See you in heaven. 1947: Desire Me (multiple streams). 1948: double life. 1949: Adam's rib; Edward, My are. 1950: Born yesterday; A life of Her Own. 1951: The Model And The Marriage Broker. 1952: The impetuous; Girl for marriage. 1953: The Actress. 1954: A blonde phenomenon; A star is born. 1955: Cross of destinations. 1957: les Girls; Wild wind. 1959: The gunman of Cheyenne. 1960: Billionaire; Dream of love (filmed late sequences). 1962: confidences of woman. 1964: My Fair Lady (my fair Lady). 1969: Justine. 1972: Travels with my aunt. 1976: The Blue Bird. 1981: Rich and famous.

Works for television:

1969: Hollywood: The Selznick (actor) Years. 1975: Love Among The Ruins (director). 1979: The Corn is Green (director). 1980: Hollywood (series; actor). 2000: American Masters: On Cukor.

Other works:

1929: The romantic River (dialogues). 1930: all quiet on the front (dialogues).


COMUZIO, e.: George Cukor. Florence, Nuova Italy, 1977.

LAMBERT, Gavin: On Cukor. London, G. P. Putnam completo Sons, 1972.

MCGILLIGAN, p.: George Cukor: exhaustively documented definitive biography. Barcelona, overseas, 1994.