Gregory La Cava

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Gregory La Cava (born March 10, 1892 in Towanda , Pennsylvania , † March 1, 1952 in Malibu ) was an American film director and cartoonist .


Gregory La Cava first worked as an artist and completed his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League of New York . After a few years in the profession, La Cava came to Hollywood as a cartoonist during the First World War. He drew for animated films by Walter Lantz , for example for The Katzenjammer Kids and Mutt and Jeff , and got into the film business via this detour. He later worked as a film editor for Hearst Comic Film International , and from the mid-1920s he also directed it himself. After he had turned a partially bizarre satire about politics and corruption with Gabriel Over the With House in 1933 , he was entrusted with two more films the following year. The Affairs of Cellini was the first major film Darryl F. Zanuck produced for his new company 20th Century ; in What Every Woman Knows he worked with actress Helen Hayes .

Best known is still his screwball comedy My Man Godfrey from 1936 with Carole Lombard and William Powell in the leading roles. The following year, Katharine Hepburn's stagnant career was reinvigorated by La Cava's drama drama stage entry, and thereby succeeded in drawing attention to Hepburn's comedic talent. He made two other films with Ginger Rogers , who played the second leading role in Stage Door : the comedy Fifth Avenue Girl from 1939, in which a drunk millionaire asks the rain-soaked Rogers: “Why don't you step out of those wet clothes and into a dry Martini '? ” , and Primrose Path , who in 1940 went to the limits of what was allowed by the censors in his portrayal of prostitution and domestic violence.

After two less successful films at Universal with Irene Dunne , Unfinished Business and Lady in a Jam , La Cava got into major private problems and withdrew completely from the film business for a few years. His last film Living in a Big Way , which took him over ten months to shoot in 1947, turned out to be a flop. He couldn't finish filming One Touch of Venus after that. In his 1985 book People Will Talk , film historian John Kobal included an interview with actor Joel McCrea , in which he spoke openly about his friendship with La Cava and his private problems.

Gregory La Cava was married twice: his first marriage to Beryl Morse Greene between 1924 and 1930 ended in divorce, as did his second marriage to Grace Hoyt Garland between 1940 and 1945. La Cava had a son from his first marriage to Greene. He died of a heart attack in 1952 at the age of 59.

Filmography (selection)


La Cava was nominated twice for an Oscar for best director : in 1936 for my husband Godfrey and in 1937 for stage entrance . While he missed out on the Oscar awards, he won the New York Film Critics Circle Award in 1937 for Best Director for Stage Entrance . For his work on around 175, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

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