Biography

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Woodbridge Strong “W. S.” Van Dyke II (Woody) (March 21, 1889 – February 5, 1943) was an American film director and writer who made several successful early sound films, including Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932, The Thin Man in 1934, San Francisco in 1936, and six popular musicals with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. He received two Academy Award nominations for Best Director for The Thin Man and San Francisco, and directed four actors to Oscar nominations: William Powell, Spencer Tracy, Norma Shearer, and Robert Morley. Known as a reliable craftsman who made his films on schedule and under budget, he earned the name "One Take Woody" for his quick and efficient style of filming. Many of his films were huge hits and top box office in any given year. He received Academy Award for Best Director nominations for The Thin Man (1934) and San Francisco (1936). He also directed the Oscar-winning classic Eskimo (also known as Mala the Magnificent), in which he also has a featured acting role.

His other films include the island adventure White Shadows in the South Seas (1928); its follow-up, The Pagan (1929); Trader Horn (1931), which was filmed almost entirely in Africa; Tarzan the Ape Man (1932); Manhattan Melodrama (1934); and Marie Antoinette (1938). He is perhaps best remembered, however, for directing Myrna Loy and William Powell in four Thin Man films: The Thin Man (1934), After the Thin Man (1936), Another Thin Man (1939), and Shadow of the Thin Man (1941); and Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in six of their greatest hits, Naughty Marietta (1935), Rose Marie (1936), Sweethearts (1938), New Moon (1940) (uncredited because halfway through filming Robert Z. Leonard took over), Bitter Sweet (1940), and I Married an Angel (1942).

The earthquake sequence in San Francisco is considered one of the best special-effects sequences ever filmed. To help direct, Van Dyke called upon his early mentor, D. W. Griffith, who had fallen on hard times. Van Dyke was also known to hire old-time, out-of-work actors as extras. Because of his loyalty, he was much beloved and admired in the industry.

Van Dyke was known for allowing ad-libbing (that remained in the film) and for coaxing natural performances from his actors. He made stars of Nelson Eddy, James Stewart, Myrna Loy, Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Eleanor Powell, Ilona Massey, and Margaret O'Brien. He was often called in to work a few days (or more), uncredited, on a film that was in trouble or had gone over production schedule.

Promoted to the rank of major prior to World War II, the patriotic Van Dyke set up a Marine Corps recruiting center in his MGM office. He was one of the first Hollywood bigwigs to advocate early U.S. involvement, and he convinced stars like Clark Gable, James Stewart, Robert Taylor, and Nelson Eddy to become involved in the war effort.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Woodbridge Strong “W. S.” Van Dyke II (Woody) (March 21, 1889 – February 5, 1943) was an American film director and writer who made several successful early sound films, including Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932, The Thin Man in 1934, San Francisco in 1936, and six popular musicals with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. He received two Academy Award nominations for Best Director for The Thin Man and San Francisco, and directed four actors to Oscar nominations: William Powell, Spencer Tracy, Norma Shearer, and Robert Morley. Known as a reliable craftsman who made his films on schedule and under budget, he earned the name "One Take Woody" for his quick and efficient style of filming. Many of his films were huge hits and top box office in any given year. He received Academy Award for Best Director nominations for The Thin Man (1934) and San Francisco (1936). He also directed the Oscar-winning classic Eskimo (also known as Mala the Magnificent), in which he also has a featured acting role.

His other films include the island adventure White Shadows in the South Seas (1928); its follow-up, The Pagan (1929); Trader Horn (1931), which was filmed almost entirely in Africa; Tarzan the Ape Man (1932); Manhattan Melodrama (1934); and Marie Antoinette (1938). He is perhaps best remembered, however, for directing Myrna Loy and William Powell in four Thin Man films: The Thin Man (1934), After the Thin Man (1936), Another Thin Man (1939), and Shadow of the Thin Man (1941); and Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in six of their greatest hits, Naughty Marietta (1935), Rose Marie (1936), Sweethearts (1938), New Moon (1940) (uncredited because halfway through filming Robert Z. Leonard took over), Bitter Sweet (1940), and I Married an Angel (1942).

The earthquake sequence in San Francisco is considered one of the best special-effects sequences ever filmed. To help direct, Van Dyke called upon his early mentor, D. W. Griffith, who had fallen on hard times. Van Dyke was also known to hire old-time, out-of-work actors as extras. Because of his loyalty, he was much beloved and admired in the industry.

Van Dyke was known for allowing ad-libbing (that remained in the film) and for coaxing natural performances from his actors. He made stars of Nelson Eddy, James Stewart, Myrna Loy, Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Eleanor Powell, Ilona Massey, and Margaret O'Brien. He was often called in to work a few days (or more), uncredited, on a film that was in trouble or had gone over production schedule.

Promoted to the rank of major prior to World War II, the patriotic Van Dyke set up a Marine Corps recruiting center in his MGM office. He was one of the first Hollywood bigwigs to advocate early U.S. involvement, and he convinced stars like Clark Gable, James Stewart, Robert Taylor, and Nelson Eddy to become involved in the war effort.

Personal Info

Known For Directing

Gender Male

Known Credits 58

Birthday 1889-03-21

Day of Death 1943-02-05

Place of Birth San Diego, California, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • W. S. Van Dyke
  • В.С. Ван Дайк
  • Maj. W.S. Van Dyke II

Directing TV ShowsMovies

1942 Journey for MargaretDirector
1942 CairoDirector
1942 I Married an AngelDirector
1942 Dr. Kildare's VictoryDirector
1941 Shadow of the Thin ManDirector
1941 The Feminine TouchDirector
1941 Rage in HeavenDirector
1940 Bitter SweetDirector
1940 I Love You AgainDirector
1940 New MoonDirector
1940 I Take This WomanDirector
1939 Andy Hardy Gets Spring FeverDirector
1939 It's a Wonderful WorldDirector
1939 Stand Up and FightDirector
1939 Another Thin ManDirector
1938 SweetheartsDirector
1938 Marie AntoinetteDirector
1937 RosalieDirector
1937 The Prisoner of ZendaDirector
1937 They Gave Him a GunDirector
1937 Personal PropertyDirector
1936 After the Thin ManDirector
1936 Love on the RunDirector
1936 The Devil Is a SissyDirector
1936 His Brother's WifeDirector
1936 San FranciscoDirector
1936 Rose MarieDirector
1935 I Live My LifeDirector
1935 Broadway Melody of 1936Director
1935 Naughty MariettaDirector
1934 Forsaking All OthersDirector
1934 Hide-OutDirector
1934 The Thin ManDirector
1934 Manhattan MelodramaDirector
1934 Laughing BoyDirector
1933 EskimoDirector
1933 The Prizefighter and the LadyDirector
1933 PenthouseDirector
1932 Night CourtDirector
1932 Tarzan the Ape ManDirector
1931 The Cuban Love SongDirector
1931 Guilty HandsDirector
1931 Trader HornDirector
1931 Never the Twain Shall MeetDirector
1929 The PaganDirector
1928 White Shadows in the South SeasDirector
1928 Under the Black EagleDirector
1927 Spoilers of the WestDirector
1927 Foreign DevilsDirector
1927 The Eyes of the TotemDirector
1927 Winners Of The WildernessDirector
1926 War PaintDirector
1920 The Adventures of Daredevil JackDirector
1918 The Lady of the DugoutDirector
1916 Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the AgesSecond Assistant Director
1915 The Birth of a NationAssistant Director

Acting

1940 The Miracle of Sound
1933 Eskimo as Inspector White
1916 Oliver Twist as Charles Dickens
1916 Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages as Cana Wedding Guest

Production

1936 San FranciscoProducer
1934 Laughing BoyProducer
1933 EskimoProducer

By signing up for an account on TMDb, you can post directly to Twitter and Facebook.

You need to be logged in to continue. Click here to login or here to sign up.

Global

s focus the search bar
p open profile menu
esc close an open window
? open keyboard shortcut window

On media pages

b go back (or to parent when applicable)
e go to edit page

On TV season pages

(right arrow) go to next season
(left arrow) go to previous season

On TV episode pages

(right arrow) go to next episode
(left arrow) go to previous episode

On all image pages

a open add image window

On all edit pages

t open translation selector
ctrl+ s submit form

On discussion pages

n create new discussion
w toggle watching status
p toggle public/private
c toggle close/open
a open activity
r reply to discussion
l go to last reply
ctrl+ enter submit your message
(right arrow) next page
(left arrow) previous page