Louis Calhern

Family tree of Louis Calhern

Actor

AmericanBorn Carl Henry Vogt

American stage and screen actor

Born on February 19, 1895 in Brooklyn, New York , United States

Died on May 12, 1956 in Nara, Nara , Japan

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Carl Henry Vogt (February 19, 1895 – May 12, 1956), known professionally as Louis Calhern, was an American stage and screen actor. Well known to fans of film noir for his role as Alonzo Emmerich, the pivotal villain in 1950's The Asphalt Jungle, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for portraying Oliver Wendell Holmes in the film The Magnificent Yankee later that year.

...   Carl Henry Vogt (February 19, 1895 – May 12, 1956), known professionally as Louis Calhern, was an American stage and screen actor. Well known to fans of film noir for his role as Alonzo Emmerich, the pivotal villain in 1950's The Asphalt Jungle, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for portraying Oliver Wendell Holmes in the film The Magnificent Yankee later that year.


Early life
Calhern was born Carl Henry Vogt in Brooklyn, New York, in 1895, the son of German immigrants Eugene Adolf Vogt and Hubertina Friese Vogt. He had one known sibling, a sister. His father was a tobacco dealer.While in elementary school, his family left New York and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was raised. While playing high school football, a stage manager from a touring theatrical stock company noticed the tall, handsome youth and hired him as a bit player. Another source states "Grace George hired his entire high school football team as supers for a Shakespearean play." Due to the anti-German sentiment during World War I, he changed his German given name, Carl. His stage name is an amalgam of his hometown of St. Louis and his first and middle names, Carl and Henry (Calhern).


Stage
Just before World War I, Calhern returned to New York to pursue an acting career. He began as a prop boy and bit player with various touring and burlesque companies. He became a matinee idol after being in a play titled Cobra.Calhern's Broadway credits include:


Military service
Calhern's burgeoning career was interrupted by World War I; he served in France in the 143rd Field Artillery of the U.S. Army.


Film
Calhern began working in silent films for director Lois Weber in the early 1920s, the most notable being The Blot (1921). A newspaper article commented: "The new arrival in stardom is Louis Calhern, who, until Miss Weber engaged him to enact the leading male role in What's Worth While?, had been playing leads in the Morosco Stock company of Los Angeles."In 1923, Calhern left the movies, deciding to devote his career entirely to the stage. He returned to films early in the sound era where he was primarily cast as a character actor, while he continued to play leading roles on the stage. Among Calhern's notable screen portrayals were as the partner in crime to Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis in 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932), as Ambassador Trentino in the classic Marx Brothers comedy Duck Soup (1933), as Major Dort in The Life of Emile Zola (1937), and as the spy boss of Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946).
In the late 1940s, Calhern joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a contract player, receiving wide acclaim for his many fine screen portrayals, including three diverse roles that he appeared in for the studio in 1950: a singing role as Buffalo Bill in the film version of the musical Annie Get Your Gun; as a double-crossing lawyer and sugar daddy to a young Marilyn Monroe in John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle; and his Oscar-nominated performance as Oliver Wendell Holmes in The Magnificent Yankee (re-creating his role from the Broadway stage). He was also praised for his portrayal of the title role in the John Houseman production of Julius Caesar (adapted from the Shakespeare play) in 1953, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
Calhern played the role of the devious George Caswell, the manipulative board member of Tredway Corporation, in the 1954 production of Executive Suite, followed by the role of a jaded, acerbic high school teacher in Blackboard Jungle (1955). His performance as lecherous Uncle Willie in High Society (1956), a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story, was his final film appearance.


Personal life
Calhern battled alcoholism for much of his adult life; as a result, he lost several important screen and stage roles. According to his third wife, actress Natalie Schafer, Calhern's inability to overcome his alcohol addiction ended their marriage. While he was willing to consult doctors, Schafer said Calhern refused to attend Alcoholics Anonymous because he was an atheist and considered AA to be a religious organization. Calhern ultimately overcame his alcohol addiction by the late 1940s.


Death
Calhern died May 12, 1956, at age 61 of a sudden heart attack in Nara, Japan, while there to film The Teahouse of the August Moon. He was replaced in the film by Paul Ford. Calhern's body was cremated and his remains interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.


Selected filmography


References


External links

Louis Calhern at IMDb
Louis Calhern at AllMovie
Louis Calhern at the Internet Broadway Database



Biography from Wikipedia (see original) under licence CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Geographical origins

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