By Patrick McGilligan
One of many highest-paid studio agreement administrators of his time, George Cukor was once nominated 5 instances for an Academy Award as most sensible Director. In exposure and mystique he used to be dubbed the “women’s director” for steering the main delicate top women to immortal performances, together with Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Judy Garland, and—in ten movies, between them The Philadelphia tale and Adam’s Rib—his lifelong buddy and collaborator Katharine Hepburn. yet at the back of the “women’s director” label lurked the open mystery that set Cukor except a quite often macho fraternity of administrators: he used to be a gay, a rarity one of the most sensible echelon. Patrick McGilligan’s biography unearths how Cukor continued inside of a process fraught with bigotry whereas turning into considered one of Hollywood’s consummate filmmakers.
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Extra info for George Cukor: A Double Life
As often as not after 1926, as part of his agreement with Cukor, Kondolf was credited with codirecting. " It is surprising how often Cukor described himself in conversation as "not especially attractive"—particularly as a young man. That seems to have been the prevalent opinion of others, as well. Among the dozens of friends and associates interviewed for this book, many volunteered comments about Cukor's lack of physical beauty. Ugly is the word that frequently cropped up, unprompted. Yet in photographs, Cukor appears really quite beautiful in his early twenties.
Complaining that Rochester was stuck with tattered road-show thespians performing recycled plays, Cukor recommended a cachet of reputable New York actors—some visiting stars re-creating their original roles (such as Mrs. Leslie Carter in The Circle and Pauline Lord in Anna Christie}—an ambitious play list, including some bona fide Broadway-bound tryouts. With good publicity and showmanship—and he allowed that he had plenty of ideas in both departments—Cukor could guarantee success. Meaningfully, Cukor added that such a company would spell a great opportunity for his friend Walter, who could exercise his acting prowess while dabbling on the ledger side of show business.
More to the point, Cukor and Barrymore had become inseparable. Every night during the run of the show (some twenty-nine weeks), he, Mortimer Offner, and Stella Bloch would pick up Barrymore and squire her to her apartment. They would sit and talk night after night until the sun came up. Practically every weekday night! Frank Conroy, the British actor from the cast, might be there, and other theater 31 people, such as Zoe Akins or the actress Jobyna Howland, would drop in. Ruth Gordon lived in the same building, and she was another who stopped in and said hello, on her way upstairs late at night after one of her own performances.