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Richard Thorpe

Richard Thorpe

American actor and film director
Richard Thorpe
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor and film director
Was Actor Film director Stage actor
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 24 February 1896, Kansas, U.S.A.
Death 1 May 1991, California, U.S.A. (aged 95 years)
Star sign Pisces
Family
Children: Jerry Thorpe
Richard Thorpe
The details

Biography

Richard Thorpe (February 24, 1896 – May 1, 1991) was an American film director best known for his long career at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Biography

Born Rollo Smolt Thorpe in Hutchinson, Kansas, he began his entertainment career performing in vaudeville and onstage. In 1921 he began in motion pictures as an actor and directed his first silent film in 1923. He went on to direct more than one hundred and eighty films. He worked frequently at the Poverty Row studio Chesterfield Pictures during the 1930s. The first full-length motion picture he directed for MGM was Last of the Pagans (1935) starring Ray Mala. After directing The Last Challenge in 1967, he retired from the film industry. He died in Palm Springs, California on May 1, 1991.

His two favourite films were Night Must Fall (1937) and Two Girls and a Sailor (1944).

Wizard of Oz

Thorpe is also known as the original director of The Wizard of Oz. He was fired after two weeks of shooting, because it was felt that his scenes did not have the right air of fantasy about them. Thorpe notoriously gave Judy Garland a blonde wig and cutesy "baby-doll" makeup that made her look like a girl in her late teens rather than an innocent Kansas farm girl of about thirteen. Both makeup and wig were discarded at the suggestion of George Cukor, who was brought in temporarily. Stills from Thorpe's work on the film survive today. Further, it is understood that bits of his filmed footage of Toto escaping from the Wicked Witch's castle are still featured in the film, albeit uncredited.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Thorpe has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6101 Hollywood Blvd. In 2003 a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in Palm Springs, California was dedicated to him and his son, Jerry.

Selected filmography

As Director

  • Rarin' to Go (1924)
  • Gold and Grit (1925)
  • Deuce High (1926)
  • The Meddlin' Stranger (1927)
  • Ride 'em High (1927)
  • Desperate Courage (1928)
  • Vultures of the Sea (1928)
  • The Vanishing West (1928)
  • The Fatal Warning (1929)
  • Border Romance (1929)
  • The King of the Kongo (1929)
  • The Utah Kid (1930)
  • The Lady From Nowhere (1931)
  • Slightly Married (1932)
  • Murder at Dawn (1932)
  • The Secrets of Wu Sin (1932)
  • Women Won't Tell (1932)
  • Forbidden Company (1932)
  • The King Murder (1932)
  • Escapade (1932)
  • Forgotten (1933)
  • Notorious but Nice (1933)
  • Green Eyes (1934)
  • Secret of the Chateau (1934)
  • Last of the Pagans (1935)
  • Strange Wives (1935)
  • Tarzan Escapes (1936) with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan
  • Night Must Fall (1937) with Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell
  • Dangerous Number (1937) with Ann Sothern and Robert Young
  • Man-Proof (1938) with Myrna Loy, Franchot Tone, Rosalind Russell, and Walter Pidgeon
  • Love Is a Headache (1938) with Franchot Tone
  • The Crowd Roars (1938) with Robert Taylor, Edward Arnold, Frank Morgan, and Maureen O'Sullivan
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939) with Mickey Rooney, Walter Connolly, and William Frawley
  • 20 Mule Team (1940) with Wallace Beery
  • Wyoming (1940) with Wallace Beery
  • The Earl of Chicago (1940) with Robert Montgomery
  • Barnacle Bill (1941) with Wallace Beery
  • The Bad Man (1941) with Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day, and Ronald Reagan
  • Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942) with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan
  • White Cargo (1942) with Hedy Lamarr as Tondelayo
  • Above Suspicion (1943) with Joan Crawford and Fred MacMurray
  • Two Girls and a Sailor (1944) with Van Johnson and June Allyson
  • The Thin Man Goes Home (1945) with William Powell and Myrna Loy
  • Thrill of a Romance (1945) with Esther Williams
  • Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945) with Hedy Lamarr and Robert Walker
  • Fiesta (1947) with Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán
  • This Time for Keeps (1947) with Esther Williams and Jimmy Durante
  • On an Island with You (1948) with Esther Williams, Peter Lawford, and Jimmy Durante
  • A Date with Judy (1948) with Wallace Beery, Jane Powell, and Elizabeth Taylor
  • Malaya (1949) with Spencer Tracy and James Stewart
  • Big Jack (1949) with Wallace Beery, Richard Conte, Marjorie Main, and Edward Arnold
  • Challenge to Lassie (1949) with Donald Crisp and Alan Napier
  • Black Hand (1950) with Gene Kelly
  • Three Little Words (1950) with Fred Astaire and Red Skelton
  • The Great Caruso (1951) with Mario Lanza and Ann Blyth
  • The Unknown Man (1951) with Walter Pidgeon
  • Vengeance Valley (1951) with Burt Lancaster
  • Carbine Williams (1952) with James Stewart
  • Ivanhoe (1952) with Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Fontaine
  • The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) with Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, and James Mason
  • The Girl Who Had Everything (1953) with Elizabeth Taylor, Fernando Lamas, and William Powell
  • Knights of the Round Table (1953) with Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner
  • All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953) with Robert Taylor and Stewart Granger
  • Athena (1954) with Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds
  • The Student Prince (1954), based on the famous operetta, with Ann Blyth, Edmund Purdom, and the singing voice of Mario Lanza.
  • The Adventures of Quentin Durward (1955) with Robert Taylor and Robert Morley
  • Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957) with Robert Taylor and Dorothy Malone
  • Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957) with Dean Martin (Martin's first non-Martin and Lewis movie)
  • Jailhouse Rock (1957) with Elvis Presley
  • Killers of Kilimanjaro (1959) with Robert Taylor and Anthony Newley
  • The House of the Seven Hawks (1959) with Robert Taylor
  • The Honeymoon Machine (1961) with Steve McQueen
  • The Tartars (1961) with Orson Welles
  • The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962) with Jim Hutton and Paula Prentiss
  • Follow the Boys (1963) with Paula Prentiss
  • Fun in Acapulco (1963) with Elvis Presley and Ursula Andress
  • The Golden Head (1964) with George Sanders and Buddy Hackett
  • The Truth About Spring (1964) with Hayley Mills
  • That Funny Feeling (1965) with Sandra Dee, Bobby Darin, and Donald O'Connor
  • The Last Challenge (1967)
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