George Cukor (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 07, 2022

Although he knew absolutely nothing about theatrical technique, George Cukor answered a newspaper ad for an assistant stage manager for the Chicago company of “The Better ‘Ole,” and sold himself.

Born and raised in New York, Cukor was graduated from the DeWitt Clinton High School just in time to become a member of the Student Army Training Corps for the duration of the World War.

His youthful ambition was to become a stage director. For this profession, he displayed a natural aptitude and his rise was rapid. Cukor’s experience with the Chicago company brought him offers from New York. He became stage manager for Edgar Selwyn, the Shuberts and others, finally graduating to directorial ranks.

Directed tor Stage

As a director, he turned out many finished and successful productions. Among his New York hits were The Great Gatsby and The Dark, with Elsie Ferguson and Basil Rathbone; Antonio, with Marjorie Rambeau; Her Cardboard Lover, which he directed twice, once with Jeanne Eagels, and The Constant Wife, with Ethel Barrymore. Cukor was associated with Gilbert Miller and the Charles Frohman Company, until talking pictures brought him to Hollywood as a dialogue director in 1929.

Hit as Stock Manager

The New York season was not enough to absorb the energies and talent of this remarkable young man. During the summer months, Cukor created and ran a phenomenally successful stock company in Rochester, N. Y. He was the first to adopt the system of trying out New York plays in stock. Among the Hollywood players who worked with him at Rochester were Robert Montgomery, Ralph Morgan, Miriam Hopkins, Bette Davis, Billie Burke and Wallace Ford.

The spoken word has always interested Cukor, and as a director of dialogue, he is conceded to have no superior. It was in this capacity that he made his motion picture debut. Cukor’s first picture was “River of Romance,” with Buddy Rogers. He directed the dialogue for Richard Wallace, and did the same for All Quiet on the Western Front. After co-directing several pictures, his rapid grasp of motion picture problems saw him a full-fledged director.

Many Hits on Record

As a director on his own, Cukor’s initial venture was “Tarnished Lady.” He followed it with Girls About Town, One Hour with YouWhat Price HollywoodA Bill of Divorcement, “Rockabye Baby” and “Our Betters.”

Firmly established as a top ranking director, Cukor made one hit after another, Dinner at Eight, Little WomenDavid Copperfield, Romeo and Juliet, and Camille. These pictures, incidentally, were made under a contract whereby Cukor will direct one picture a year for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Devoted to his profession, Cukor has few outside interests. He is unmarried, swims for exercise, goes to the theater for relaxation, and directs as vocation, avocation and hobby. On a vacation in Italy, he was highly honored for his many motion picture triumphs.