Ernst Lubitsch

Ernst Lubitsch
20th Century Fox


Ernst Lubitsch
Film: South side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Jan. 29, 1892 in Berlin, Germany
Died Nov. 30, 1947 of heart disease in Bel-Air, Calif.

Film director Ernst Lubitsch brought sophistication to the screen when it was practically unknown in that medium.

Lubitsch went on the stage at 19 under Max Reinhardt, when Reinhardt was at the peak of his career as a Continental stage producer.

At the end of two years he left Reinhardt to become a writer-producer-actor. Within a short period, he was squeezing in time with the newborn cinema as an actor and by 1915 had directed his first motion picture.

All of his first films were comedies, with which he had a deft hand. But this country first heard of him as the director of "Passion," which in 1918 raised Pola Negri to international stardom, and then "Deception," which made Emil Jannings famous.

These two pictures were enough to create the term "the Lubitsch touch," and then in 1922 Mary Pickford, then the top-ranking star of the films, brought him to the U.S. to direct her in "Rosita."

The gay but very human mood he created in that picture established him. He was signed by Warner Bros., and in the 1920s made a long series of pictures noted for their high polish, whether in light or dramatic vein.

Later, he directed such pictures as "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife" and "Ninotchka." His most recent features were "Cluny Brown," "Royal Scandal" and "Heaven Can Wait."

His reputation rested not only on the finished picture, but also on his understanding of players, which gave him a knack for finding talent and for discovering new abilities in established actors. He was credited with the first American success of Maurice Chevalier, with uncovering the comedy powers of Greta Garbo and Gary Cooper and with making a star of Jeanette MacDonald.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1928 Best Director The Patriot Nomination
    1929 Best Director The Love Parade Nomination
    1943 Best Director Heaven Can Wait Nomination
    1946 Special Award Win

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