André de Toth
Born and raised in Hungary, Andre de Toth came to the USA in the 1940s and became established as a workmanlike director whose films, notably his Westerns and films noir, were later hailed for their moody, psychological aspects. A genuinely colorful character, the one-eyed helmer has proven evasive in interviews, particularly in relation to his early life and career and his marriage to screen siren Veronica Lake. The son of a former Hussar turned civil engineer, de Toth disappointed his father by being asked to leave a number of schools and then by deciding not to pursue a military career. Instead, he allegedly showed an early artistic bent, having a one-person art show while in his early teens (he claims to have destroyed the paintings and sculpture). His first play is said to have closed before it opened but led to a meeting with playwright Ferenc Molnar who served as a mentor, introducing de Toth to various high profile individuals and obtaining writing assignments for the youth. After obtaining a law degree, de Toth reportedly entered the Hungarian film industry, working as a camera operator for noted cinematographer Istvan (Stefan) Eiben. During the 1930s, he reportedly lived throughout Europe and visited the USA on several occasions. While in London, de Toth worked in several capacities for the Korda brothers before heading to Vienna to work on a script. On one of his trips to Los Angeles, he claims to have done uncredited work on the script for 1937's "The Life of Emile Zola."