Clifton Webb – Wikipedia

American actor, singer, dancer ( 1889-1966 )

Webb Parmelee Hollenbeck ( November 19, 1889 [ 1 ] – October 13, 1966 ), known professionally as Clifton Webb, was an american actor, singer, and dancer. He worked extensively and was known for his stage appearances in the plays of Noël Coward, including Blithe Spirit, vitamin a good as appearances on Broadway in a count of successful musical revues. As a film actor, he was nominated for three Academy Awards – Best Supporting Actor for Laura ( 1944 ) and The Razor’s Edge ( 1946 ), and Best Actor in a head Role for Sitting Pretty ( 1948 ) .

early life [edit ]

Webb was born Webb Parmelee Hollenbeck in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the only child of Jacob Grant Hollenbeck ( 1867 – May 2, 1939 ), the ticket-clerk son of a grocer from an Indiana farming family, and his wife, the former Mabel A. Parmelee ( Parmalee or Parmallee ; March 24, 1869 – October 17, 1960 ), the daughter of David Parmelee, a railroad conductor. The couple married in Kankakee, Illinois, on January 18, 1888, and separated in 1891, soon after their son ‘s parentage. [ 2 ] According to Marion County, Indiana records, the marriage took place in Indianapolis.

In 1892, Webb ‘s mother, nowadays styling herself “ Mabelle ”, moved to New York City with her beloved “ little Webb ”, as she called him for the remainder of her animation. She dismissed questions about her conserve, Jacob, who like her church father, worked for the Indianapolis – St. Louis Railroad, by saying, “ We never speak of him. He did n’t care for the field. ” The couple obviously divorced, since, by 1900, Mabelle was married to Green B. Raum, Jr. New York City ‘s 1900 U.S. census indicates Mabelle and her son were using the surname Raum and living on West 77th Street with Green Berry Raum, Jr., a copper-foundry worker, who gave his position in the family as Mabel ‘s conserve. [ 3 ] Raum was the son of General Green Berry Raum, former U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue and former U.S. Commissioner of Pensions. Webb ‘s don, Jacob, married his irregular wife, Ethel Brown, and he died in 1939. [ 4 ]

career [edit ]

Broadway [edit ]

In 1909, using his new stage name, 19-year-old Clifton Webb had become a professional ballroom dancer, often partnering with “ extremely cosmetic ” leading dancer Bonnie Glass ( she would finally replace him with Rudolph Valentino ) ; they would perform in about two twelve operettas. His debut on Broadway began when The Purple Road opened at the Liberty Theatre on April 7, 1913 ; he played the role of Bosco for the 136 performances before close in August. His mother ( billed as Mabel Parmalee ) was listed in the program as a penis of the opening-night cast. His adjacent musical was an Al Jolson vehicle, Sigmund Romberg ‘s Dancing Around, which opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 10, 1914, ran for 145 performances, and closed in the comply February. late in 1915, Webb was cast in the all-star revue Ned Wayburn’s Town Topics, which boasted 117 celebrated performers, including Will Rogers, as listed in the Century Theatre opening-night program for September 23, 1915. It closed 68 performances belated on November 20, 1915. In 1916, he had another unretentive run with Cole Porter ‘s comedian opera See America First, which opened at the Maxine Elliott Theatre on March 28, 1916, and closed after 15 performances on April 8, 1916 .
The class 1917 proved to be better, with a 233-performance run of Jerome Kern ‘s Love O’ Mike, opening on January 15 at the Shubert Theatre. After moving to Maxine Elliott ‘s Theatre, and then the Casino Theatre, it closed on September 29, 1917. Webb besides appeared that year with other Broadway stars in the National Red Cross Pageant a 50-minute film of a stage production held to benefit the American Red Cross. Webb ‘s final appearance of the 1910s, the melodious Listen Lester, had the longest run, 272 performances. It opened at the Knickerbocker Theatre on December 23, 1918, and closed in August 1919. In the 1920s, Webb played in eight Broadway shows and made numerous other phase appearances, including vaudeville, and a handful of silent films. The revue As You Were, with extra songs by Cole Porter, opened at the Central Theatre on January 29, 1920, running 143 performances until May 29, 1920. Webb was busy with films, tours, and an appearance at the London Pavilion in 1921 as Mr. St. Louis in Fun of the Fayre and in 1922 in Phi-Phi – he did not return to Broadway until 1923. He then played in the melodious Jack and Jill at the Globe Theatre for 92 performances between March 22 and June 9 of 1923, followed by Lynn Starling ‘s comedian play Meet the Wife, which opened on November 26, 1923, and ran through the summer of 1924. One of the play ‘s leads was 24-year-old Humphrey Bogart. In 1925, Webb appeared on stage in a dancing dissemble with vaudeville star topology and mum film actress Mary Hay. Later that year, when her conserve, Tol’able David star Richard Barthelmess and she decided to produce and star the film New Toys, they chose Webb to be second lead. The film proved to be financially successful, but 19 more years would pass before Webb appeared in another have film. Webb ‘s mainstay was intelligibly Broadway theater. between 1913 and 1947, the tall, slender performer with the clear, gentle tenor appeared in 23 Broadway shows, starting with major supporting roles and cursorily progressing to leads. He introduced Irving Berlin ‘s “ Easter Parade “ and George and Ira Gershwin ‘s “ I ‘ve Got a Crush on You “ in Treasure Girl in 1928 ; Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz ‘s “ I Guess I ‘ll Have to Change My plan “ in The Little Show in 1929 ; “ Louisiana Hayride ” in Flying Colors in 1932 ; and Irving Berlin ‘s “ not for All the Rice in China ” in the very successful revue As Thousands Cheer. His steaming couple with Libby Holman of Moanin ‘ Low stunned the crowd nightly. [ 5 ] in 1933. One of his stage sketches, performed with co-star Fred Allen, was filmed by Vitaphone as a short topic entitled The Still Alarm in 1930. Allen ‘s experiences while working with Webb in the film appear in Allen ‘s memoirs. Most of Webb ‘s Broadway shows were musicals, but he besides starred in Oscar Wilde ‘s The Importance of Being Earnest, and his longtime friend Noël Coward ‘s plays Blithe Spirit and Present Laughter .

Laura – established as character actor [edit ]

Laura earned him an Academy Award nomination. Webb ‘s performance inearned him an Academy Award nomination. Webb was in his mid-fifties when actor/director Otto Preminger chose him over the objections of twentieth Century Fox chief Darryl F. Zanuck to play the elegant but evil radio columnist Waldo Lydecker, who is obsessed with Gene Tierney ‘s character in the 1944 film noir Laura. Zanuck reportedly found Webb besides effeminate as a person and an actor ; he wanted Laird Cregar to play the function ; but Cregar by then was well established as an on-screen villain and Preminger wanted person who would surprise the consultation. Webb ‘s operation won him broad applaud, and he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Despite Zanuck ‘s original objection, Webb was signed to a long-run contract with Fox. He worked for them entirely for the rest of his career. His beginning film under the condense was The Dark Corner ( 1946 ), a film noir directed by Henry Hathaway ; as in Laura, Webb played a politic villain. He was then reunited with Tierney in another highly praise character as the elitist Elliott Templeton in The Razor’s Edge ( 1946 ). He received another Academy Award nominating speech for Best Actor in a Supporting Role .

Sitting Pretty and stardom [edit ]

Webb was billed in a star character in Sitting Pretty, playing Mr. Belvedere, a supercilious, know-it-all babysitter. It was a huge hit and Webb received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a conduct function Fox promptly put Webb in a sequel, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College ( 1949 ) where Belvedere has to complete his college degree and acts as matchmaker. It was another box office success. In the film Cheaper by the Dozen ( 1950 ), Webb and Myrna Loy played Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, real-life efficiency experts of the 1910s and 1920s, and the parents of 12 children. It resulted in Webb ‘s third gear reach in a row and led to exhibitors voting him the seventh biggest ace in the United States. Less successful at the box-office was For Heaven’s Sake ( 1950 ) in which Webb played an angel trying to help a couple on ground. He made Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell ( 1951 ), with Belvedere causing trouble in an old-folks home, but the movie was not arsenic successful at the box-office as the first gear two, resulting in the end of the series. Webb played a father trying to cancel his daughter Anne Francis ‘ marriage in Elopement ( 1952 ), a minor hit. He made a brief appearance in Belles on Their Toes ( 1952 ), a sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen, which covered the syndicate ‘s liveliness after the death of the forefather. Webb then starred as college professor Thornton Sayre, who in his younger days was known as silent-film idol Bruce “ Dreamboat ” Blair. nowadays a distinguished academician who wants no function of his past fame, he sets out to stop the testify of his old films on television in Dreamboat ( 1952 ), which concludes with Webb ‘s alter self Sayre watching himself asterisk in Sitting Pretty.

Around the like time, he starred in the Technicolor film biography of bandmaster John Philip Sousa, Stars and Stripes Forever ( besides 1952 ). He was a Belvedere-like scoutmaster in Mister Scoutmaster ( 1953 ). Webb had his most dramatic function as the cursed but brave husband of unfaithful Barbara Stanwyck in Titanic ( besides 1953 ). Writer Walter Reisch says this movie was created in contribution as a vehicle for Webb by Fox, who wanted to push Webb into more serious roles. [ 6 ] soon afterwards, he played the ( fictional ) novelist John Frederick Shadwell in Three Coins in the Fountain ( 1954 ), romancing Dorothy McGuire. It was a huge hit. He was top billed as a company owner in Woman’s World ( 1954 ), a corporate drama. The british film The Man Who Never Was ( 1956 ) featured Webb playing the part of Royal Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu in the true fib of Operation Mincemeat, the elaborate plan to deceive the Axis powers about the Allied invasion of Sicily during World War II. In Boy on a Dolphin ( 1957 ), second-billed to Alan Ladd, with third-billed Sophia Loren, he portrayed a affluent twist who enjoyed collecting illegally obtained greek antiquities. In a nod to his own identity, the character ‘s name was Victor Parmalee. He starred in The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker ( 1959 ), a Cheaper By the Dozen comedy as a man with two families, and Holiday for Lovers ( 1959 ), a syndicate comedy set in South America. Neither was peculiarly successful. Fox was developing Journey to the Center of the Earth ( 1959 ) as a fomite for Webb, but when he fell ill and was ineffective to work, James Mason stepped into the function. [ 7 ] Webb ‘s concluding film function was an initially sarcastic, but ultimately self-denying Catholic priest in Leo McCarey ‘s Satan Never Sleeps ( 1962 ). The film showed the victory of Mao Tse-tung ‘s armies in the chinese Civil War, which ended with his ascension to power in 1949, but was actually filmed in Britain during the summer of 1961, using sets left from the film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness ( 1958 ), which was besides set in China. Webb was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6850 Hollywood Boulevard for his contributions to the movement picture industry. [ 8 ] Webb ‘s portrayal of Lynn Belvedere was the model for the “ Mr. Peabody ” character in the “ Peabody’s Improbable History “ segment of the enliven cartoon series The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends .

personal life [edit ]

Throughout his career Clifton Webb remained a confirm knight bachelor, and had no children. He lived with his mother until her death at age 91 in 1960, leading Noël Coward to remark, “ It must be atrocious to be orphaned at 71. ” [ 9 ] Actor Robert Wagner, who co-starred with Webb in the films Stars and Stripes Forever and Titanic and considered the actor one of his mentors, stated in his memoirs, Pieces of My Heart: A Life, that “ Clifton Webb was gay, of course, but he never made a pas at me, not that he would have ”. [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] According to a journal article published more than 40 years after Webb ‘s death, his sexual predilection was frequently alluded to through many veiled references in entertainment newspaper column, though the article does not provide digital scans of any of them. [ 13 ] On the Kraft Music Hall net radio broadcast of March 25, 1948, Webb exchanged banter with singer/actor Al Jolson and pianist/comedian Oscar Levant, with Webb, then near 60 himself, charging Jolson with “ having aged ”. “ You ‘re not precisely a male child, ” responded Jolson, to which Levant added, “ He ‘s not precisely a girlfriend, either. ” [ 13 ]

later years and death [edit ]

Webb ‘s crypt at Hollywood Forever due to health problems, Webb spent the concluding five years of his life as a hermit at his home in Beverly Hills, California. On October 13, 1966, Webb suffered a fateful heart attack at his home at the old age of 76. [ 14 ] He is interred in crypt 2350, corridor G-6, Abbey of the Psalms in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, alongside his mother. [ 15 ]

bequest [edit ]

UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television ‘s Clifton Webb Scholarship, which was established in 1969, was named in award of Webb. [ 16 ] [ 17 ]

complete filmography [edit ]

Box office ranking [edit ]

For a number of years film exhibitors voted Webb among the most popular stars in the nation :

  • 1949: 14th (US)[18]
  • 1950: 7th (US)
  • 1951: 21st (US)

degree work [edit ]

radio appearances [edit ]

Awards and nominations [edit ]

See besides [edit ]

References [edit ]

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