Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges


Preston Sturges
Film: West side of the 1600 block of Vine Street
Director | Playwright | Producer | Writer
Born Edmund Preston Biden on Aug. 29, 1898 in Chicago, Ill.
Died Aug. 6, 1959 of heart attack in New York, NY

Preston Sturges was a renowned Hollywood film producer-writer-director and Broadway playwright.

Sturges' most memorable efforts were the 1929 Broadway smash hit "Strictly Dishonorable," which ran two years and "The Great McGinty," which brought him the 1940 Academy Award for best screen play.

His mother packed him off to Europe six months each year to absorb culture in the schools of France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Sturges began his show business career in the late 1920s as a song writer and publisher. He became an assistant to Broadway producer Brock Pemberton and his first play, "The Guinea Pig," was produced in 1928.

His other stage plays included "Recapture," "Well of Romance" and "Child of Manhattan." Then he wrote "The Big Pond" and "Fast and Loose" for Paramount in New York.

Universal beckoned him to Hollywood in 1932. Finding himself "off contract" after a few pictures, he sold a shooting script for "The Power and the Glory" to Jesse L. Lasky for an unheard of $17,500 — plus royalties.

Sturges is credited with introducing the flashback technique in "The Power and the Glory."

He hit the jackpot when he offered "The Great McGinty" to Paramount for $1 — provided he could direct it. Paramount accepted and the picture, starring Brian Donlevy, not only won Sturges an Oscar but launched his directing career.

His writer-director efforts included "Hail the Conquering Hero," "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," "The Great Moment," "Unfaithfully Yours," "Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend" and "The French They are a Funny Race."

In 1944, Sturges went into a partnership with Howard Hughes in California Pictures Corp. They completed only one picture, "The Sin of Harold Diddlebock," starring Harold Lloyd. Their partnership was dissolved in 1946.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1940 Best Original Screenplay The Great McGinty Win
    1944 Best Original Screenplay Hail the Conquering Hero Nomination
    1944 Best Original Screenplay The Miracle of Morgan's Creek Nomination

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