He became a matinee idol by virtue of a play titled Cobra, and soon began to act in films. He started working in silent films for director Lois Weber in the early 1920s; the most notable being The Blot in 1921. In 1923 he left film, but would come back eight years later; a little while after movies started talking; primarily cast as a character actor in Hollywood (Ambassador Trentino in the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup), while he continued to play leading roles on stage. He reached his peak in the 1950s as a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract player. Among his most memorable roles were three that he played in 1950: a singing one as Buffalo Bill in the film version of Annie Get Your Gun, the double-crossing lawyer and sugar-daddy to Marilyn Monroe in John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle, and his Oscar-nominated role as Oliver Wendell Holmes in The Magnificent Yankee (re-creating his stage role), as well as his portrayal of the title role in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film Julius Caesar in 1953 (adapted from Shakespeare's play).
In addition to The Magnificent Yankee, Calhern had Broadway successes in the English-language production of Franz Werfel's Jacobowsky und der Oberst (1944) and in the title role of King Lear (also in 1950). In his film career, he played the grandfather in The Red Pony (1949), adapted from the novel by John Steinbeck and starring Robert Mitchum, and the spy boss of Cary Grant in the Alfred Hitchcock suspense classic Notorious (1946). A performance as "wicked Uncle Willie" in High Society (1956), a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story, turned out to be the actor's final film.
Read more about this topic: Louis Calhern
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Famous quotes containing the word career:
“I doubt that I would have taken so many leaps in my own writing or been as clear about my feminist and political commitments if I had not been anointed as early as I was. Some major form of recognition seems to have to mark a womans career for her to be able to go out on a limb without having her credentials questioned.”
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“Each of the professions means a prejudice. The necessity for a career forces every one to take sides. We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.”
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“He was at a starting point which makes many a mans career a fine subject for betting, if there were any gentlemen given to that amusement who could appreciate the complicated probabilities of an arduous purpose, with all the possible thwartings and furtherings of circumstance, all the niceties of inward balance, by which a man swings and makes his point or else is carried headlong.”
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