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Robert Rossen Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameRobert Rosen
Nickname Bob
Height 5' 6½" (1.69 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Robert Rossen was born on March 16, 1908 in New York City, New York, USA as Robert Rosen. He was a writer and director, known for The Hustler (1961), All the King's Men (1949) and Alexander the Great (1956). He was married to Susan Siegal. He died on February 18, 1966 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (1)

Susan Siegal (4 July 1935 - 18 February 1966) ( his death) ( 3 children)

Trivia (14)

Originally refused to testify at the HUAC hearings (regarding the blacklist), but then admitted to being a member of the Communist Party in May, 1953, and named 57 others as well.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945." Pages 971-976. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
Directed 8 actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Broderick Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge, John Ireland, and John Garfield. Crawford and McCambridge won for All the King's Men (1949).
Ex-father-in-law of Hal Holbrook.
Brought up in Manhattan's Lower East Side, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He attended New York University and briefly earned a living as a professional welterweight boxer. Staged his first socialist-oriented plays for the Washington Square Players and the Maverick Woodstock Players, later moving on to work with the Theater Guild and graduating to stage manager.
Was a member of the Communist Party from 1937 to 1945. He was blacklisted by HUAC, 1951-53, after refusing to name names, after being subpoenaed. In 1953, he relented to save his career and implicated 57 people as having had communist affiliations. As a result of his cooperation, he was permitted to work again, though he did not return to Hollywood.
He became a contract screenwriter for Mervyn LeRoy at Warner Brothers (1936-45) when his latest play on Broadway closed after just four performances. His screenplays often focused on individuals either fighting, or being destroyed by, the system. Prompted by actor Dick Powell, he directed his first film in 1946. Though it was poorly received, he then had back-to-back hits with Body and Soul (1947) and All the King's Men (1949), after which he was able to set up his own production company, with financing and releasing through Columbia (contract 1949-51). Had a poor productive spell in the 1950's and did not return to form until The Hustler (1961). His last film, Lilith (1964), flopped in the U.S., though it was highly regarded in France. Allegedly, there were on-set problems between Rossen and star Warren Beatty which contributed to Rossen never making another film again.
He was the grandson of a rabbi and the nephew of a Hebrew poet.
His career was often hampered by his reluctance to work in collaboration with others.
His work on All the King's Men (1949) has been compared to that of the Italian post-war neo-realists, in its almost documentary-style approach, editing methods, location shooting in all types of weather (with whatever lighting was available) and a cast which included many non-professional actors, often caught unawares by the camera.
Became obsessed by the failure of They Came to Cordura (1959) and spent many years attempting to release a re-edited version.
Had a long-standing problem with alcoholism.
"Macbeth" was Rossen's favorite Shakespearean play, which he described as a 'dramatization of the ambiguity of the human condition.'.

Personal Quotes (2)

[About his break with Communism and his decision to name names] I didn't think, after two years of thinking, that any one individual can indulge himself in the luxury of individual morality or pit it against what I feel today very strongly is the security and safety of this nation."
Real life is ugly, but we can't make good pictures until we're ready to tell about it.

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