The actor known as Melvyn Douglas was born Melvin Hesselberg. Douglas made many appearances on Broadway in the 1940s and 1950s, including in a notable 1959 flop, making his musical debut playing Captain Boyle in Marc Blitzstein's "Juno." Illeana Douglas, Actress: Stir of Echoes. Melvyn Douglas (born Melvyn Edouard Hesselberg, April 5, 1901 – August 4, 1981) was an American actor.  He returned to play more mature roles in The Sea of Grass and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Born with show business in her blood, she is the granddaughter of screen legend Melvyn Douglas. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply. Douglas later played mature and fatherly characters, as in his Academy Award–winning performances in Hud (1963) and Being There (1979) and his Academy Award–nominated performance in I Never Sang for My Father (1970). Nixon went so far as to infamously call her "pink right down to her underwear". A big supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he and his wife Helen were invited to spend a night at the White House in November 1939. His biography is in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". What does contingent mean in real estate? As a result, they became outspoken anti-fascists, supporting the Democratic Party and Roosevelt's re-election. He won his second Oscar for "Being There. He played a Presidential candidate in Gore Vidal's play, and, years later, Vidal (who was not normally very complimentary about actors) remarked that he would have made a fine President in real life. [on his Jewish background] I did not learn about the non-Christian part of my heritage until my early teens. Melvyn Douglas was born Melvyn Edouard Hesselberg on April … He served in the United States Army in World War I. Douglas was born in Macon, Georgia, the son of Lena Priscilla (née Shackelford) and Edouard Gregory Hesselberg, a concert pianist and composer. Douglas' leftism would come back to haunt him after the death of FDR.Well-connected with the Roosevelt White House, Douglas served as a director of the Arts Council in the Office of Civilian Defense before joining the Army during World War II. The musical, based on Sean O'Casey's play "Juno and the Paycock", closed in less than three weeks. Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 240-242. Douglas had shown he could play both straight drama and light comedy.Douglas was a great liberal and was a pillar of the anti-Nazi Popular Front in the Hollywood of the 1930s. In typical Hollywood fashion, however, this terrific performance in a top-rank film from a major studio was balanced by his appearance in a low-budget horror film for the independent Mayfair studio, The Vampire Bat (1933). He first appeared opposite his future Ninotchka (1939) co-star Greta Garbo in the screen adaptation of Luigi Pirandello's As You Desire Me (1932), proving himself a sophisticated leading man as, aside from his first-rate performance, he was able to shine in the light thrown off by Garbo, the cinema's greatest star. On August 5, 2019, he was honored with a day of his film work during the Turner Classic Movies Summer Under the Stars. In 1967, he became the fifth performer to win the triple crown of acting. Douglas aged rapidly during the late 1950s and as he grew older, he took on older-man and fatherly roles, in such movies as Hud (1963), for which he won his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, The Americanization of Emily (1964), an episode of The Fugitive (1966), I Never Sang for My Father (1970), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and The Candidate (1972). Other than studios choosing the same "American" name for them, The actor known as Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch. What is the timing order of an 1985 Plymouth horizon? She wanted him to take up law. It's true they gave me a worldwide reputation I could trade on, but they also typed me as a one-dimensional, non-serious actor. Douglas was much luckier in his next trip to the post: he won a Tony for his Broadway lead role in the 1960 play "The Best Man" by Gore Vidal.Douglas' evolution into a premier character actor was completed by the early 1960s. Why is Charlie having so much difficultly talking to Miss Kinnian and other people? When did organ music become associated with baseball? Douglas was sworn in as chief of the Arts Council, Office of Civilian Defense, by Miss Eileen Lusby, of the Emergency Management Personnel, in Washington, D.C., on 7 February 1942. How long will the footprints on the moon last? They traveled to Europe that same year, and "were horrified by French and German anti-Semitism". Hesselberg, an artist, is the father of actress Illeana Douglas. One of his most sympathetic roles was as the belatedly attentive father in Captains Courageous (1937). Douglas' final completed screen appearance was in Ghost Story (1981). (To keep the record straight, Paul Douglas of A Letter to Three Wives fame came into the world as Paul Fleischer.) Illeana Douglas is his granddaughter. He was very active in politics and was one of the leading lights of the anti-Communist left in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Is Melvyn Douglas related to Kirk Douglas? He took the surname of his maternal grandmother and became known as Melvyn Douglas. No. His mother, Lena Priscilla (Shackelford), from Clark Furnace, Tennessee, was from a family with deep roots in the United States, and the daughter of Col. George Taliaferro Shackelford. In the last few years of his life Douglas appeared in films with supernatural stories involving ghosts. Jon C. Hopwood, Other Works Douglas came to prominence in the 1930s as a suave leading man, perhaps best typified by his performance in the 1939 romantic comedy Ninotchka with Greta Garbo. For his second role after coming off of the graylist, he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Paul Newman's father in Hud (1963). CBS Playhouse: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro, My Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar Winners (1960-1979), Academy Award Best Supporting Actor Winners (Best to Worst). In 1931, Douglas married actress-turned-politician Helen Gahagan. He had a long theatre, film and television career as a lead player, stretching from his 1930 Broadway role in Tonight or Never (opposite his future wife, Helen Gahagan) until just before his death. Douglas would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka (1939), but he was much, much more. It was for his performance playing Gene Hackman's father that Douglas got his sole Best Actor Academy Award nod, in I Never Sang for My Father (1970). In addition to his two Oscars, he also won a Tony Award and an Emmy. All Rights Reserved. What percentage of alcoholics successfully complete the Salvation Army program? Melvyn's father supported his family by teaching music at university-based conservatories. How can I get in touch with Denzel Washington's mother lenox? During World War II, Douglas served first as a director of the Arts Council in the Office of Civilian Defense, and he then again served in the United States Army rising to the rank of Major. Douglas would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka (1939), but he was much, much more.Melvyn Douglas was born Melvyn Edouard Hesselberg on April 5, 1901, in Macon, Georgia. His years of movie exile seemed to deepen him, making him richer, and he returned to the big screen a more authoritative actor. Though his father taught music at a succession of colleges in the U.S. and Canada, Douglas never graduated from high school. Publicity Listings He had two grandsons from son Gregory, named Stefan and Erik. His next three plays were flops: "Back Here" and "Now-a-Days" each lasted one week, while "Recapture" lasted all of three before closing. He established an outdoor theatre in Chicago. In addition to his Academy Awards, Douglas won a Tony Award for his Broadway lead role in the 1960 The Best Man by Gore Vidal, and an Emmy for his 1967 role in Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Do it. Kramer.. Gahagan, as a three-term Congresswoman, was later Richard Nixon's opponent for the United States Senate seat from California in 1950. Douglas's father was the son of Hollywood actor Melvyn Douglas and his wife, the artist Rosalind Hightower. Sources: Internet Broadway Database and Playbill, "Melvin Douglas" redirects here. He won Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as Best Actor (Dramatic) for "The Best Man.". The and one for television at 6601 Hollywood Blvd. Illeana Douglas is an actress, writer, and producer.