Gregory La Cava

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Often overshadowed by Howard Hawks, Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges, director Gregory La Cava was a fine practitioner of the screwball comedy while earning a reputation for drawing out the best from his leading ... Read more »
Born: 03/10/1892 in Towanda, Pennsylvania, USA

Filmography

Director (19)

Fifth Avenue Girl 1938 (Movie)

(Director)

Stage Door 1936 (Movie)

(Director)

My Man Godfrey 1935 (Movie)

(Director)

Private Worlds 1934 (Movie)

(Director)

Bed of Roses 1932 (Movie)

(Director)

The Age of Consent 1931 (Movie)

(Director)

Running Wild 1926 (Movie)

(Director)

Big News (Movie)

(Director)

Gabriel Over the White House (Movie)

(Director)

His First Command (Movie)

(Director)

Laugh and Get Rich (Movie)

(Director)

Let's Get Married (Movie)

(Director)

Living in a Big Way (Movie)

(Director)

Saturday's Children (Movie)

(Director)

She Married Her Boss (Movie)

(Director)

Smart Woman (Movie)

(Director)

So's Your Old Man (Movie)

(Director)

Symphony of Six Million (Movie)

(Director)

The Affairs of Cellini (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (6)

Private Worlds 1934 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Running Wild 1926 (Movie)

(From Story)

His First Command (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Laugh and Get Rich (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Living in a Big Way (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Living in a Big Way (Movie)

(Screen Story)
Producer (3)

Fifth Avenue Girl 1938 (Movie)

(Producer)

My Man Godfrey 1935 (Movie)

(Producer)

So's Your Old Man (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

Often overshadowed by Howard Hawks, Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges, director Gregory La Cava was a fine practitioner of the screwball comedy while earning a reputation for drawing out the best from his leading performers, thanks to a penchant for on-set improvisation. He began his career as a cartoonist, making over 100 animated shorts during the silent era before making the switch to live-action features, collaborating with the likes of Richard Dix and W.C. Fields. He successfully transitioned to the sound era with "Laugh and Get Rich" (1931) and "What Every Woman Knows" (1934), while finding more critical success with "The Affairs of Cellini" (1934). He made occasional excursions into drama with "Symphony of Six Million" (1932) and the overtly political "Gabriel Over the White House" (1933), but often his more serious films failed to live up to even his more middling comedies. Meanwhile, La Cava was Oscar-nominated for directing "My Man Godfrey" (1936), starring William Powell and Carole Lombard, which was considered by many historians to be one of the greatest screwball comedies ever made. He followed that with another Academy Award-worthy comedy, "Stage Door" (1937), which marked the pinnacle of his career. From there, he hit a precipitous downward slide with a number of box office failures that basically ended his career in the early 1940s. Though he was often forgotten by later generations, La Cava no doubt left behind an inviting oeuvre of exceptional comedies that ranked alongside the works of better known directors.

Relationships

Pascal Cava

Father

Grace Garland

Wife
married in 1940 divorced

Beryle Morse

Wife
divorced

EDUCATION

Chicago Institute of Art

Chicago , Illinois

Art Students League of New York

New York , New York

Milestones

1948

Began filming "One Touch of Venus"; reportedly walked off the set after 11 days of shooting and replaced by William A Seiter

1947

Last directorial credit, "Living in a Big Way"

1940

Co-wrote screenplay (with Allan Scott) and directed "The Primrose Path", featuring a strong performance from Ginger Rogers

1937

Received second Best Director Academy Award nomination for "Stage Door"; first of three films with Ginger Rogers

1936

Earned first Oscar nomination for Best Director for the screwball comedy "My Man Godfrey"

1936

Helmed the Claudette Colbert comic vehicle "She Married Her Boss"

1934

Garnered praise for his direction of "The Affairs of Cellini"

1933

Enjoyed a box-office hit with "Gabriel Over the White House" for MGM

1931

Put under contract at RKO; directed "Smart Woman"

1929

Shot "Saturday's Children" as a silent; film reissued as a partial talkie

1928

Made what is arguably his best silent comedy "Feel My Pulse", with Bebe Daniels

1927

Helmed second Fields vehicle, "Running Wild"

1926

First film with W C Fields, "So's Your Old Man"

1925

Signed to a four-year contract by Famous Players-Lasky Corportation; made 10 silent films, many starring Richard Dix

1924

Returned to feature filmmaking with "Restless Wives" and "The New School Teacher"; wrote screenplay for the latter

1922

First feature, "His Nibs"

1921

Moved to Los Angeles (date approximate)

1918

Worked at Bray studio until it discontinued its animation unit

1915

Appointed editor-in-chief of an animation studio founded by William Randolph Hearst; worked with Walter Lantz on "The Katzenjammmer Kids" and "Silk Hat Harry"

1913

Hired as an animator by Barre studios (date approximate)

Began working as a newspaper cartoonist for the New York Globe& and the Evening World

Helmed series of All-Star Comedy two-reelers starring Charlie Murray

Directed Irene Dunne in two films, "Unfinished Business" and "Lady in a Jam"

Because of financial considerations, abandoned art studies and took job as a newspaper reporter in Rochester, New York

Hired as a gag writer on one- and two-reelers

Studied painting at the Chicago Art Institute and the Art Students League in New York City

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