John Huston

(1906—1987) American-born film director

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US film director, screenwriter, and actor.

Son of actor Walter Huston (1884–1950), John Huston was born in Nevada, Missouri. His early life was spent touring with his parents, after which his activities included acting, writing, and becoming a cavalryman in Mexico. For a time he collaborated on screenplays but in 1941 he had his first opportunity to direct a film, the classic detective film The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor (1906–87), Peter Lorre (1904–64), and Sidney Greenstreet (1879–1954). During World War II he saw service with the US army and directed outstanding documentaries, including The Battle of San Pietro (1944) and Let There Be Light (1945). Postwar success quickly followed with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), which won Oscars for best director, best screenplay, and best supporting actor (his father). Notable among the many films that followed were The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Red Badge of Courage (1951), The African Queen (1952), Moby Dick (1956), The Misfits (1961), The Night of the Iguana (1964), Fat City (1972), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), the screen version of the musical Annie (1982), and Prizzi's Honour (1985).

Huston also acted in his own and other people's films, including The Bible (1966), as Noah, and Winter Kills (1977). His colourful life – including several marriages – was the subject of William Nolan's book John Huston: King Rebel (1965) and his autobiography, John Huston: An Open Book (1980).

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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