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John Houseman ACTOR


John Houseman was born on September 22, 1902 as Jacques Haussmann in Bucharest, Rumania.  His mother was British and his father Alsatian.  After completion of college in England he began working for his father's grain business and soon after worked for a magazine as a translator translating plays from German and French.  In 1924 he immigrated to the US and lived in New York and by his early thirties he was already writing, producing, and directing plays.  In 1929, he married Zita Johann, an American actress best known for her role as Princess Ankhesenamón in Karl Freund's 1932 film version of “The Mummy”, co-starring Boris Karloff.  They divorced in 1933 and John Houseman went on to further his career in the entertainment industry.

His first major job in the theater was as a director of Virgil Thompson's opera "Four Saints in Three Acts" in 1934.  In 1937, along with Orson Welles, the two founded the Mercury Theater, where he  produced radio specials and stage presentations. Welles' never-completed first film "Too Much Johnson" (1938) was produced by Houseman.  He then proceeded to play a large role in Welles' first completed film "Citizen Kane" (1941).  Shortly after the completion and success of this film Welles and Houseman had a falling out and went their separate ways. However, his association with Welles produced such events in American culture as a 1935 production of "Macbeth" which took place in  Haiti with an all-black cast and the staging of the musical "The Cradle Will Rock", which was closed by the police in 1936. He was also responsible for the radio broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" that actually scared the public into thinking it was real.  

Houseman then became a vice president of David O. Selznick Productions.  However in 1941, right after Pearl Harbor, he was promoted to the chief of overseas radio division of the OWI where he broadcast radio programs for the Voice of America. 

Upon his return to Hollywood, he produced many films and commuted back and forth to New York to produce and direct Broadway plays and television specials.  In 1952 he married Joan Courtney and they remained married until his death.  Between 1956 and 1959 he was the artistic director for the American Shakespeare Festival.  He also co-founded the Professional Theater group for the University of California, Los Angeles. This later became part of the Mark Taper Forum and the acting company and New York city based group whose members have included Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, and William Hurt. The John Houseman Theatre was established in 1986 as a permanent home for the acting company.

The films John Houseman produced were nominated for twenty Oscars and won seven of those. He was the artistic director of the touring repertory group the Acting Company. At the age of 62, he made his first appearance on screen in "Seven Days in May" (1964), and then in the '70s and '80s played character roles in a number of films.  In 1973 he played Kingsfield, a stern Harvard Law Professor in the film "The Paper Chase". This was his second screen appearance and he earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. John Houseman, as a movie producer, was responsible for such films as "The Blue Dahlia" (1946), "Letter from an Unknown Woman" (1948), "They Live by Night" (1949), "Julius Caesar" (1953), and "Lust for Life" (1956).

Houseman was also responsible for helping establish the acting program at New York's famous Julliard School for the Arts, where he influenced a new generation of actors.  He was even a writer of two autobiographies "Run Through" and "Front and Center".  He also received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama.  In the 1980s, Houseman became more widely known for his role as grandfather Edward Stratton II in the television show "Silver Spoons", which starred Rick Schroeder.

Houseman passed away October 31, 1988 in Malibu, California from spinal cancer.  After his death the final two films he worked on were released -- "The Naked Gun" and "Scrooged".  He left behind two sons, and a legacy to American culture.  He was one of the greatest directors and producers in the entertainment industry. John Houseman shared his love for acting with many students as the head of the Julliard School.  He will never be forgotten and he is looked upon by many as the midwife to a whole generation of actors.



1983 Choices of the Heart Executive 

1980 Gideon's Trumpet Executive 

1966 This Property Is Condemned 

1963  In the Cool of the Day 

1962  All Fall Down 

1962  Two Weeks in Another Town 

1956  Lust for Life 

1955  Moonfleet 

1955  The Cobweb 

1954  Executive Suite 

1954  Her Twelve Men 

1953  Julius Caesar 

1952  Holiday for Sinners 

1952  The Bad and the Beautiful 

1951  On Dangerous Ground 

1950  The Company She Keeps 

1949  They Live by Night 

1948  Letter from an Unknown Woman 

1946  The Blue Dahlia 

1945  Miss Susie Slagle's Associate 

1945  The Unseen 

1944  Jane Eyre (Screenwriter)


1988  Another Woman as Marion's Dad

1988  Bright Lights, Big City as Mr. Vogel

1988  Gore Vidal's Lincoln as General Scott

1988  James Clavell's Noble House as Sir Geoffrey Allison

1988  Scrooged as Himself

1988  The Naked Gun as Driving Instructor

1986  The Paper Chase: Season 04 as Charles W. Kingsfield

1985  A.D. as Gamaliel

1985  The Paper Chase: Season 03 as Charles W. Kingsfield

1983  The Paper Chase: Season 02 as Charles W. Kingsfield

1983  Winds of War, Part 6: Changing the Guard as Aaron Jastrow

1983  Winds of War, Part 7: Into the Maelstorm as Aaron Jastrow

1982  Marco Polo as Patriarch

1982  Murder by Phone as Dr. Stanley Markowitz

1981  Ghost Story as Sears James

1980  A Christmas Without Snow as Ephraim Adams

1980  Gideon's Trumpet as Chief Justice

1980  My Bodyguard as Dobbs

1980  The Fog as Machen

1980  Wholly Moses! as Archangel

1979  Old Boyfriends as Dr. Hoffman

1978  The Cheap Detective as Jasper Blubber

1978  The Paper Chase: Season 01 as Charles W. Kingsfield

1977  Aspen as Joseph Merrill Drummond

1977  Our Town as Professor Willard

1976  Beyond the Horizon as Performance

1976  Captains and the Kings as Judge Newell Chisholm

1976  St. Ives as Procane

1975  Fear on Trial as Mike Collins

1975  Rollerball as Bartholomew

1975  Three Days of the Condor as Wabash

1973  The Paper Chase as Kingsfield

1964  Seven Days in May as Adm. Barnswell

Matinee Classics - Three Days of the Condor starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow, John Houseman, Addison Powell, Walter McGinn, Tina Chen, Hank Garrett, Michael Kane, Don McHenry, Michael B. Miller, Jess Osuna, Dino Narizzano, Helen Stenborg, Patrick Gorman and Russell Johnson
Matinee Classics - Silver Spoons starring Ricky Schroeder, Joel Higgins, Erin Gray, Leonard Lightfoot, Franklyn Seales, Jason Bateman, Corky Pigeon, Bobby Fite, Alfonso Ribeiro, Billy Jacoby, John Houseman, Ray Walston and Christine Belford

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