Howard Hawks

Howard Hawks

Infobox Actor
name = Howard Hawks
birthdate = birth date|1896|5|30|mf=y

imagesize =160px
location = Goshen, Indiana
deathdate = death date and age|1977|12|26|1896|5|30
deathplace = Palm Springs, California
birthname = Howard Winchester Hawks
yearsactive = 1923 - 1977
academyawards = Academy Honorary Award
1975 Lifetime Achievement
spouse = Athole Shearer (1928-1940)
Nancy Gross (1941-1949)
Dee Hartford (1953-1959)

Howard Winchester Hawks (May 30, 1896 – December 26, 1977) was an American film director, producer and writer of the classic Hollywood era. He died in Palm Springs, California, after a fall.


Born in Goshen, Indiana, Hawks was the first-born child of Frank W. Hawks and the former Helen Howard. After the birth of his brother, Kenneth Neil Hawks, on August 12, 1899, the family moved to Neenah, Wisconsin. Shortly afterward they moved again, to Southern California.

Hawks attended high school in Glendora, and then moved to New Hampshire to attend Phillips Exeter Academy from 1912-1914. After graduation, Hawks moved on to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he majored in mechanical engineering. During the summers of 1916 and 1917, Hawks worked on some early movies, interning for the Famous Players-Lasky Studio. After graduation he joined the United States Army Air Service during World War I.

After the war, he worked at a number of jobs: race-car driver, aviator, designer in an aircraft factory. By 1924 he had moved back to Hollywood and joined the movie industry. He chummed with barn stormers and pioneer aviators at Rogers Airport in Los Angeles, getting to know men like Moye Stephens. Hawks wrote his first screenplay, "Tiger Love", in 1924 and he directed his first film, "The Road to Glory", in 1925. Hawks reworked the scripts of most of the films he directed without taking official credit for his writing.

Howard Hawks directed a total of eight silent films, including "Fazil" in 1928. He made the transition to sound without difficulty. His films include "Scarface" (1932), rated "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress,Fact|date=June 2008 "Bringing up Baby" (1938), listed number ninety-seven on American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies,Fact|date=June 2008 "His Girl Friday" (1940), and listed #19 on American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs. His film, "Sergeant York" (1941), starring Gary Cooper, was the highest-grossing film of its year and won two Academy Awards (Best Actor and Best Editing).

In 1944, Hawks filmed the first of two films starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, "To Have and Have Not", which was the first film pairing of the couple. He followed that with 1946's "The Big Sleep", which was placed on the Library of Congress U.S. National Film Registry.

In 1948, he filmed "Red River", with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, rated "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress. In 1953, he filmed "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", featuring Marilyn Monroe singing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

1959's "Rio Bravo", starring John Wayne, Dean Martin and Walter Brennan, was remade twice by Hawks - in 1967 ("El Dorado") and again in 1970 ("Rio Lobo"). Both starred John Wayne.

Hawks was versatile as a director, filming comedies, dramas, gangster films, science fiction, film noir, and Westerns. Hawks' own functional definition of what constitutes a "good movie" is revealing of his no-nonsense style: "Three great scenes, no bad ones."Fact|date=May 2007

While Hawks was not politically feminist or sympathetic to their goals, he popularized the Hawksian woman archetype, which could be considered a prototype of the modern post-feminist movement.Fact|date=June 2008 At the same time, Hawks was known to make anti-semitic comments, including in front of Jewish actress Lauren Bacall, who kept her Jewish identity a secret from Hawks and who did not call him on his hateful comments, both of which she has said she regrets now. [ [] ] Dead link|date=June 2008

Critic Leonard Maltin labeled Hawks "the greatest American director who is not a household name," noting that, while his work may not be as well known as Ford, Welles, or DeMille, he is no less a talented filmmaker.Fact|date=May 2007

Hawks defined a good director as "someone who doesn't annoy you".Fact|date=May 2007 His directorial style and the use of natural, conversational dialogue in his films were cited a major influence on many noted filmmakers, including Robert Altman, John Carpenter, and Quentin Tarantino. He was nominated for Best Director in 1942 for "Sergeant York", but he received his only Oscar in 1975 as an Honorary Award from the Academy.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Howard Hawks has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1708 Vine Street.

Hawks was married three times, to Athole Shearer (a sister of movie actress Norma Shearer), Nancy Gross (later and better known as Slim Keith, she was the mother of his daughter, Kitty Hawks, a noted interior designer), and Dee Hartford (an actress whose real name was Donna Higgins). His brothers were director/writer Kenneth Neil Hawks and film producer William Bettingger Hawks.

Filmography (director)

*"The Road to Glory" (1926)
*"Fig Leaves" (1926)
*"The Cradle Snatchers" (1927)
*"Paid to Love" (1927)
*"A Girl in Every Port" (1928)
*"Fazil" (1928)
*"The Air Circus" (1928)
*"Trent's Last Case" (1929)
*"The Dawn Patrol" (1930)
*"The Criminal Code" (1931)
*"La Foule hurle" (1932)
*"Scarface" (1932)
*"The Crowd Roars" (1932)
*"Tiger Shark" (1932)
*"Today We Live" (1933)
*"The Prizefighter and the Lady" (1933) (uncredited)
*"Viva Villa!" (1934) (uncredited)
*"Twentieth Century" (1934)
*"Barbary Coast" (1935)
*"Ceiling Zero" (1936)
*"Sutter's Gold" (1936) (uncredited)
*"The Road to Glory" (1936)
*"Come and Get It" (1936)
*"Bringing up Baby" (1938)
*"Only Angels Have Wings" (1939)
*"His Girl Friday" (1940)
*"Sergeant York" (1941) (his only Oscar nomination)
*"Ball of Fire" (1941)
*"Air Force" (1943)
*"The Outlaw" (1943) (uncredited)
*"To Have and Have Not" (1944)
*"The Big Sleep" (1946)
*"Red River" (1948)
*"A Song Is Born" (1948)
*"I Was a Male War Bride" (1949)
*"The Thing from Another World" (1951) (uncredited)
*"The Big Sky" (1952)
*"Monkey Business" (1952)
*"O. Henry's Full House" (segment "The Ransom of Red Chief") (1952)
*"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953)
*"Land of the Pharaohs" (1955)
*"Rio Bravo" (1959)
*"Hatari!" (1962)
*"Man's Favorite Sport?" (1964)
*"Red Line 7000" (1965)
*"El Dorado" (1967)
*"Rio Lobo" (1970)

ee also

* List of film collaborations
* List of Cornell University people


Further reading

* "Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood", Todd MacCarthy (Grove Press, 1997)
* "Howard Hawks: American Artist", Jim Hillier, Peter Wollen (British Film Institute, 1997)
* "Hawks on Hawks", Joseph McBride (University of California Press, 1982)
* "Focus on Howard Hawks", Joseph McBride (ed), Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1972
* "Howard Hawks", Robin Wood, Secker & Warburg, 1968
* "Howard Hawks", Robin Wood, British Film Institute, 1981, revised with addition of chapter "Retrospect".
* "Howard Hawks, A Jungian Study", Clark Branson, Garland-Clarke Editions, 1987
* "Red River", Suzanne Liandrat-Guigues, bfi Publishing, 2000
* "Rio Bravo", Robin Wood, bfi Publishing, 2003
* "Howard Hawks" (New Edition), Robin Wood, (Wayne State University Press, 2006)

External links

*imdb name|id=0001328|name=Howard Hawks
* [ Bibliography of books and articles about Hawks] via UC Berkeley Media Resources Center
*tcmdb name|id=83089|name=Howard Hawks
* [ Senses of Cinema: Great Directors Critical Database]

NAME=Hawks, Howard
DATE OF BIRTH=birth date|1896|5|30|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH=Goshen, Indiana
DATE OF DEATH=death date|1977|12|26|mf=y
PLACE OF DEATH=Palm Springs, California

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