Leo McCarey

Leo McCarey


Leo McCarey
Film: East side of the 1500 block of Vine Street
Director | Producer | Screenwriter
Born Oct. 3, 1896 in Los Angeles, CA
Died July 6, 1969 of emphysema in St. John's Hospital, CA

Leo McCarey was a "frustrated songwriter" who rose to become one of a Hollywood's leading filmmakers.

McCarey was best known for writing, directing and producing the film "Going My Way," which won him two Academy Awards in 1944. He won his first Oscar in 1937 for directing "The Awful Truth."

He attended Los Angeles High School and, upon graduation, took a job as reporter in the sports department of the The Times, after which, at the bidding of his father, he reluctantly enrolled in USC law school.

But for McCarey, who had favored a career as a "songwriter, cartoonist, actor and writer," a legal career held no interest.

While practicing law he began writing songs. He sold his first—"Why Do You Always Sit on Your Piano?"—for $2.50. He wrote 30 more, including a collaboration on the score for the movie "An Affair to Remember," which he also produced and directed.

His first job in the motion picture industry was in 1918 as a script clerk to Universal Studios' director Tod Browning, who was making the picture "The Virgin of Stamboul."

He spent several years at Universal until producer Hal Roach offered him a job. Four years later he was vice president of Roach's film company.

Through the 1920s he directed a number of Laurel and Hardy, and Charlie Chase comedies. In the 1930s he directed "Roadhouse," "Duck Soup," Six of a Kind," "Ruggles of Red Gap" and "The Milky Way."

His most widely praised picture was "Going My Way," a story about two priests, played by Barry Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby, which he wrote, produced and directed.

Other pictures he produced and directed include "The Bells of St. Mary's," "Good Sam," "Rally Round the Flag Boys" and "Satan Never Sleeps.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1937 Best Director The Awful Truth Win
    1939 Best Original Story Love Affair Nomination*
    1940 Best Original Story My Favorite Wife Nomination*
    1944 Best Motion Picture Story Going My Way Win
    1944 Best Director Going My Way Win
    1945 Best Director The Bells of St. Mary's Nomination
    1952 Best Motion Picture Story My Son John Nomination
    1957 Best Song "An Affair to Remember" from An Affair to Remember Nomination*
    * A joint nomination shared with other people.

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