J. Walter Ruben (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 07, 2022

Educated in the grade schools ol New York and the DeWitt Clinton High School, J. Walter Ruben completed his formal education at Columbia University, emerging with a Gamma Tau Delta pin, a diversified general knowledge, attested by a degree, and an ambition to become a novelist.

He started modestly by writing fiction for magazines and enjoyed an exceptional degree of success from the first. His stories attracted the attention of a motion picture executive, who brought him to Hollywood as a neophyte scenarist. Ruben immediately showed promise, turning out numerous originals and adaptations. He is credited with such screen plays as “Under the Tonto Rim,” “Loving the Ladies,” “She’s My Weakness,” “Dead Game,” “Check and Double Check,” “The Royal Bed,” “Bachelor Apartment,” “Symphony of Six Million” and others.

Worked for His Career

Becoming interested in direction, he made a thorough study of the many phases of motion picture making, and decided that a directorial career offered a more interesting and promising future than writing. As one of Hollywood’s youngest directors, his first effort was “The Roadhouse Murder.” Ruben followed it with “The Phantom of Crestwood,” “No Other Woman,” “No Marriage Ties,” “Ace of Aces,” “Man of Two Worlds” and “Success at Any Price.”

His work attracted the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer officials, who signed him to direct “Public Hero,” one of the most successful pictures of its year. Then came Riffraff, “Trouble for Two,” “Old Hutch” and “The Good Old Soak.” The latter, a triumph for both director and star, Wallace Beery, brought Ruben a new long-term contract and direction of “Bad Man of Brimstone.”

Collector of Antiques

A man of wide interests, Ruben collects antiques and has many rare and valuable items, picked up both in America and Europe. Athletic, he plays polo, golf, swims, rides and is one of Hollywood’s finest tennis players. Ruben is equally fond of concerts, symphonic music, swing, boxing and wrestling matches. The theater, for which he wrote several sketches in his early post-college days, is a favorite diversion, and he never misses a good show. He also averages three pictures a week.

Owns Fine Stable

Ruben has a fine stable, having recently imported eight thoroughbreds from Idaho, and has a kennel of Great Danes. He plays the harmonica and is in constant demand for impromptu quartets. Long yachting trips are his favorite vacation, and professional people his pet aversion. He has gone through the United States Officers’ Training School.

In 1934 Ruben traveled through Europe. He shies away from bad luck when he sees a hat on a bed, prefers the works of Dickens and the plays of Ibsen, could listen all day to “L’Amour, Toujours L’Amour,” admires Quentin La Tour and the novels of W. Somerset Maugham. A. A. Milne is his idea of an outstanding modern playwright, and he thinks Richard the Lion-Hearted the most fascinating of all historical characters. Ellington’s rhythm and Beardsley’s illustrations are on his list of favorites.

A man whose eyes always seem to be laughing, Ruben is one of those rare Hollywood “fits”. He likes comedy and he likes to direct comedies. If his pictures bring laughter to audiences he feels he has fulfilled his mission in life. Perpetually grave people bore him.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937