Clarence Brown

Clarence Brown


Clarence Brown
Film: East side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Born May 10, 1890 in Clinton, Mass.
Died Aug. 17, 1987 of kidney failure in St. John's Hospital, CA

Clarence Brown, a onetime engineer and World War I aviator, became one of the film world's most prolific directors, enhancing the careers of such diverse stars as Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Norma Shearer and Elizabeth Taylor.

Brown was the "woman's director" who drew fine performances from Louise Dresser and Vilma Banky and directed more of Garbo's films than anyone else.

He was the "man's director" who was credited by Lionel Barrymore with "full responsibility" for the Academy Award that Barrymore won for "A Free Soul," and did much to establish the macho screen image of Gable.

He was the "children's director" who got star-making performances from Elizabeth Taylor in "National Velvet," Claude Jarman Jr. in "The Yearling," Butch Jenkins in "The Human Comedy" and Gene Reynolds in "Of Human Hearts."

His first movie, "The Great Redeemer," made under his mentor Maurice Tourneur's direct supervision in 1920, was followed by co-director credits with Tourneur for "The Last of the Mohicans" the same year and "The Foolish Matrons" in 1921.

In the years that followed, he directed a number of pictures including "The Light in the Dark," "Don't Marry for Money," "The Acquittal," "The Signal Tower" and "The Butterfly," but made his reputation in 1925 with a major hit, "The Eagle," starring Rudolph Valentino and Vilma Banky.

"Flesh and the Devil" was Brown's first picture with Garbo, the one she always credited with making her a real star, and he followed it with another silent effort, "A Woman of Affairs," and then five Garbo talkies: "Anna Christie," "Romance," Inspiration," "Anna Karenina" and "Conquest."

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1929 Best Director Anna Christie Nomination
    1929 Best Director Romance Nomination
    1930 Best Director A Free Soul Nomination
    1943 Best Director The Human Comedy Nomination
    1945 Best Director National Velvet Nomination
    1946 Best Director The Yearling Nomination

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