Suave, romantic leading man who, in the 1940s and 50s, represented the epitome of continental charm. Henreid is best remembered as Ingrid Bergman's husband, the stoic Resistance leader Victor Laszlo,...
Filmmaker Irving Rapper, one of the last survivors of Hollywood's golden era and the director of the 1942 Bette Davis Oscar-winning classic "Now, Voyager," died Dec. 20 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 101.
Best known for his professional alliance with Davis, Rapper first made his mark with the diva in the melodrama "Now, Voyager." Their collaboration continued throughout the 1940s and 1950s in three other films: "The Corn Is Green," "Deception" and "Another Man's Poison."
Rapper began his career as a dialogue coach and assistant director for Warner Bros. in 1936. He quickly moved up the ranks, landing gigs with director Michael Curtiz ("Casablanca"), among others. He made his directorial debut in 1941 with the romance drama "Shining Victory," a film that, Hollywood lore says, featured Bette Davis in a cameo as a nurse.
Also in 1941, Rapper helmed "One Foot in Heaven", a portrait of a minister and his family that earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. (It lost out to "How Green Was My Valley.")
Working regularly through the 1950s, Rapper went on to direct the likes of Natalie Wood, Gene Kelly ("Marjorie Morningstar") and Kirk Douglas ("The Glass Menagerie"). Rapper's final film was "Born Again," a 1978 biopic about Watergate conspirator-turned-born-again-Christian Chuck Colson.
Born in Jan. 16, 1898, in London, Rapper immigrated to the United States as a child. He caught the eye of Warners in 1936 for his direction of the Broadway play "Crime."
IRVING RAPPER FACTOIDS:
Known, like contemporary George Cukor, as a "women's director." One his most infamous credits was a biopic about a man who became a woman -- 1970's "The Christine Jorgensen Story." "Now, Voyager" features one of Hollywood's most-quoted closing lines: "Oh Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." (Uttered by Bette Davis to co-star Paul Henreid.) Parted with longtime studio home in 1945 when Warners reportedly forced him to cast Robert Alda (Alan's father) as composer George Gershwin in "Rhapsody in Blue."
British screen debut in bit part in "Victoria the Great"
Discovered by Otto Preminger (Max Reinhardt's managing director) who introduced him to Reinhardt
TV acting debut, "The Jewel" on "Ford Theater"
Blacklisted as an actor after going to Washington with a group of Hollywood stars to protest the HUAC's Hollywood witchhunt during the early 1950s
US screen debut in "Joan of Paris"
Broadway debut in "Flight to the West"
Moved to England
Worked as a designer and translator for a publishing company in Vienna
Became a TV director for Revue Productions, Desilu, 4-Star and Screen Gems among other companies in the early 1950s
Final screen performance in John Boorman's "Exorcist II: The Heretic"
Moved to US
Produced first film (also starred), "Hollow Triumph"
Appeared on the Viennese stage in "Men in White" and "Mizzi" and in Austrian films (date approximate)
Repeated his role in "Victoria Regina" on radio opposite Helen Hayes before making his US stage debut
Screen acting debut in "Hohe Schule"
"Casablanca" re-released on April 10, its 50th anniversary one week after Henreid's death
Signed by RKO Radio Pictures
Performed on London stage as Prince Albert in "Victoria Regina" (1937) and "The Jersey Lily" (1940)
Film directing debut with "For Men Only/The Tall Lie"
Starred in Broadway production and US tour of "Don Juan in Hell"
British film acting debut, "Goodbye, Mr. Chips"
Wife's family fled Vienna
Became leading man with Max Reinhardt's Vienna theatre
Was officially listed by Germany as a "minorities sympathizer" and an "enemy of the Third Reich" after he turned down a film contract with Germany's UFA film studio
Founded Banner Films (with Jack Chertok)
Suave, romantic leading man who, in the 1940s and 50s, represented the epitome of continental charm. Henreid is best remembered as Ingrid Bergman's husband, the stoic Resistance leader Victor Laszlo, in "Casablanca" (1943) and for his classic bit of romantic business in "Now Voyager" (1942) in which he lit two cigarettes at the same time and handed one to Bette Davis.<p> The scion of an aristocratic Austrian family, Henreid first worked as a designer and translator at a Vienna publishing firm until he was discovered in an acting school performance by Otto Preminger, who was then Max Reinhardt's managing director. Henreid became a leading man with Reinhardt's theater company and appeared in two Austrian films in the early 1930s before he moved to England because of his anti-Nazi sentiments. There he starred on the London stage and in films, ironically being cast as a Nazi officer in "Madman of Europe" and as a Gestapo agent in Carol Reed's "Night Train" (both 1940). Moving to the US in 1940, he was again cast as a German in the Broadway production "Flight to the West".<p> Signing with RKO Radio Pictures in 1941, Henreid played his first heroic role as a Free French R.A.F. pilot in his Hollywood debut, "Joan of Paris" (1941). It was the first of many films in which he would dramatize the wartime plight of sympathetic Europeans.<p> In the 50s Henreid starred in mediocre swashbucklers such as "Last of the Buccaneers" (1950) and "Thief of Damascus" (1952), and melodramas like "So Young, So Bad" (1950) and "Stolen Face" (1952). With his career as a romantic lead petering out he switched to producing and directing, especially on TV, where he directed numerous episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "The Schlitz Playhouse", "G.E. Theater", "Maverick" and "Bracken's World". In 1964, Henreid reteamed with his "Now, Voyager" and "Deception" (1946) co-star Bette Davis, directing her in the dual roles of homicidal twin sisters in the campy suspense melodrama "Dead Ringers".
Baron Carl Alphonsbanker von Hernreid
Maria-Luise von Herneid
married in 1936 until his death
appeared in "Dead Ringer" and "Blues For Lovers/Ballad in Blue" (both 1964)
Institute of Graphic Arts
Maria Theresianische Academy
Konservatorium Dramatic Arts
He was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor, 1st class for Science and Arts.
Received the American Classic Screen Award from the National Film Society (1980).
Given the Yellow Rose Award from the Texas Film Society for Artistic Achievement in 1983.
He was presented with the Legend Silver Screen Award (1984)
Named Malteser Ehren Ritter (Maltese Honor-Knight) in 1986
He was given the Golden Star of Honor for meritorious deeds about the land of Vienna.