Martin Ritt

Director, Actor, Acting teacher
In a 1987 article in The New Republic, critic Stanley Kaufman wrote that Martin Ritt "is one of the most underrated American directors, superbly competent and quietly imaginative. " While his films generally revolved ... Read more »
Born: 03/02/1914 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Director (27)

Stanley and Iris 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Nuts 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Murphy's Romance 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

Cross Creek 1982 (Movie)

(Director)

Back Roads 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Norma Rae 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Casey's Shadow 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

The Front 1975 (Movie)

(Director)

Conrack 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Pete 'n' Tillie 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

Sounder 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

The Great White Hope 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

The Molly Maguires 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

The Brotherhood 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

Hombre 1966 (Movie)

(Director)

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

The Outrage 1963 (Movie)

(Director)

Adventures of a Young Man 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

Hud 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

Paris Blues 1961 (Movie)

(Director)

Five Branded Women 1960 (Movie)

(Director)

The Sound and the Fury 1959 (Movie)

(Director)

The Black Orchid 1958 (Movie)

(Director)

The Long, Hot Summer 1958 (Movie)

(Director)

No Down Payment 1957 (Movie)

(Director)

The Alcoa Hour 1955 - 1957 (Tv Show)

Director

Edge of the City 1956 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (9)

Murphy's Romance 1985 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Cross Creek 1982 (Movie)

(Producer)

Back Roads 1981 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Front 1975 (Movie)

(Producer)

Conrack 1974 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Molly Maguires 1970 (Movie)

(Producer)

Hombre 1966 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold 1965 (Movie)

(Producer)

Hud 1962 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (7)

Anthony Quinn 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

50 Years of Action! 1985 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Slugger's Wife 1985 (Movie)

Burly De Vito (Actor)

Hollywood on Trial 1975 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Murder on the Bridge 1974 (Movie)

Hans Baerlach (Actor)

Winged Victory (Movie)

Gleason (Actor)

Biography

In a 1987 article in The New Republic, critic Stanley Kaufman wrote that Martin Ritt "is one of the most underrated American directors, superbly competent and quietly imaginative. " While his films generally revolved around moral themes and he did not develop a particular visual style, Ritt became noted as a superlative craftsman with a particular affinity for actors, stemming no doubt from his own long and distinguished performing career. Indeed, he guided a baker's dozen of performers to Oscar nominations with three (Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas in "Hud" 1963 and Sally Field in "Norma Rae" 1979) taking home the statue. Born and raised in NYC, Ritt had originally considered a career in law until he was persuaded by Elia Kazan to work with the Group Theater. His Broadway debut was in the Group's production of Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy," on which he also served as assistant stage manager and understudy to lead John Garfield. Over the next five years, Ritt worked steadily with them until he was called for military service in the US Army Air Force Special Forces during WWII. Utilizing his theatrical background, he appeared with the landmark stage production "Winged Victory" and made his feature acting debut in the 1944 film version of that play. After his discharge, Ritt made the move to directing with 1946's "Mr. Peebles and Mr. Hooker" at NYC's Music Box Theatre.

Relationships

Adele Cutler

Wife
married 1942

Morris Ritt

Father
Russian Jewish immigrant, educated in Switzerland served as second mate on ship when he emigrated to America

Rose Ritt

Mother
Jewish immigrant

Michael Ritt

Son
born in 1960

Martina Werner

Daughter

EDUCATION

DeWitt Clinton High School

New York , New York
graduated

studied acting with Elia Kazan

St John's University

Brooklyn , New York
did not graduate; met Elia Kazan in 1937 and was persuaded to try his hand at acting

Elon College

Burlington , North Carolina 1934
graduated

Rhodes Preparatory School

New York , New York

Milestones

1990

Directed final film, "Stanley & Iris", a love story teaming Robert De Niro and Jane Fonda

1987

Helmed the screen adaptation of the play "Nuts", about a call girl accused of murder; film starred Barbra Streisand

1985

Resumed acting career playing the baseball manager in "The Slugger's Wife", directed by Hal Ashby and written by Neil Simon

1985

Third film with Field, "Murphy's Romance"; leading man James Garner earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination

1985

Named distinguished director in residence, UCLA College of Fine Arts

1983

Helmed the biopic of author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. "Cross Creek", starring Mary Steenburgen; supporting players Rip Torn and Alfre Woodard nominated for Academy Awards

1981

Reteamed with Field for the less successful "Back Roads"

1979

Directed and co-produced "Norma Rae", featuring a tour de force performance by Sally Field who won an Academy Award

1976

Returned to acting in "End of the Game"

1976

Was interviewed for the Oscar-nominated documentary about the blacklist called "Hollywood on Trial"

1976

Explored blacklisting as producer and director of "The Front", scripted by Walter Bernstein

1974

Helmed the adaptation of Pat Conroy's autobiographical novel "Conrack", starring Jon Voight

1972

"Sounder" leads Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson each received Academy Award nominations under his direction; supporting player Geraldine Page also cited for her work in "Pete 'n' Tillie" under his helming

1969

Directed the film version of the stage hit "The Great White Hope"; leading players James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander both earned Oscar nominations

1969

Helmed "The Molly Maguires", the fact-based drama about striking American coal miners written by fellow blacklist survivor Walter Bernstein; Sean Connery and Richard Harris starred

1967

Produced and directed "Hombre", starring Newman

1965

Directed Richard Burton to an Oscar nomination for "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold"; also produced

1963

Received only Academy Award nomination for Best Director for "Hud"; also co-produced; stars Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas won Oscars and Paul Newman received a Best Actor nomination

1959

Directed the screen adaptation of William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury"

1958

Helmed "The Long Hot Summer", starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

1957

Film directing debut, "Edge of the City"

1955

Returned to Broadway stage directing Arthur Miller's "A Memory of Two Mondays" and "A View from the Bridge"

1954

Returned to stage directing with Philadelphia revivals of "Golden Boy", "Boy Meets Girl" and "The Front Page"

1954

Acted in Broadway production of Odets' "The Flowering Peach", based on the story of Noah and the ark

1951

Blacklisted when targeted as a Communist sympathizer by Senator Joseph McCarthy; fired from directing job at CBS

1946

Directed first Broadway play, "Mr. Pebbles and Mr. Hooker"

1943

Stage directorial debut with all-soldier production of "Yellow Jack" (date approximate)

1943

Film acting debut, "Winged Victory"

1937

Appeared in Group Theater productions

1937

Broadway debut in a walk-on part in the Group Theater production of "Golden Boy"; also was assistant stage manager and understudied John Garfield in the lead role

Taught at Actors Studio (students included Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Rod Steiger)

Stage debut as Crown in summer production of "Porgy and Bess" while attending St John's University

Directed 100 dramas and acted in 150 shows on live TV on CBS

Served with US Army Air Force Special Forces during WWII; appeared in servicemen's stage production, "Winged Victory"

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