Frank Borzage - Film Director, Family and Life

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Frank Borzage's Personal Details

Frank Borzage was an American actor and director

InformationDetail
BirthdayApril 23, 1894
Died onJune 19, 1962
NationalityAmerican
FamousFilm Director, Film & Theater Personalities, Actors, Directors
Spousesdivorced 1941), divorced 1949), Edna Stillwell Skelton (married 1945), Rena Rogers (married 1916)
SiblingsBill, Daniel, Dolly, Frank, Henry, Lew, Mary Emma, Sue
Birth PlaceSalt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
GenderMale
FatherLuigi Borzage
MotherMaria Ruegg
Sun SignTaurus
Born inSalt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Famous asFilm Director, Actor
Died at Age68

// Famous Film Director

Frank Borzage's photo

Who is Frank Borzage?

Frank Borzage was an American actor and director. He is counted as one of the most successful directors during the early twentieth century. He started with silent movies and then made the transition to talkies with a great deal of success. During his career spanning 40 years he made more than 100 movies and was known as the best director during the 1920s and the 1930s. He was the first to win the Academy Award for ‘Best Director’ and won it again for a second time later. He came from a very poor family and during childhood he had to endure the death of six of his siblings from influenza. Though being very poor Frank’s family was extremely tight knit which reflected in his films as the importance of having a loving and strong family in spite of being extremely poor. He became interested in acting and theater while he was still a boy and worked in a silver mine to earn money for an acting course.

// Famous Actors

Childhood & Early Life

Frank Borzage was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA on April 23, 1894. His father was Luigi Borzage, an Italian stonemason, and his mother was Maria Ruegg, a Swiss woman. They had fourteen children but only eight survived. Frank was the fourth of the surviving eight comprising of Henry, Mary Emma, Bill, Frank, Daniel, Lew, Dolly and Sue.

At the age of 14 he left school and went to work in a silver mine. Later he worked as a prop man for travelling theater groups and started doing bit parts with them during this time.

Fascinated by films, he started working for Thomas Ince, a pioneer film producer and director, at the age of 18.

Career

Frank Borzage got his first lead role in the melodrama 'The Wrath of the Gods’ in 1914.

He continued acting in lead roles for Ince and started directing films as well. He started with small one reel films like ‘The Pitch O’ Chance’ in 1915 and ‘The Silken Spider’ in 1916.

A large number of his early films were either westerns like ‘Nugget Jim’s Parrdner’ in 1916 or thrillers like ‘The Ghost Flower’ in 1917 starring William Desmond, Bessie Love, Gloria Swanson and Pauline Starke.

In 1920 he made the sentimental drama ‘Humoresque’ in his characteristic style which made him very popular.

He moved from ‘Paramount Pictures’ to ‘First National Pictures’ to ‘MGM and finally landed up in ‘Fox Film Corporation’ in 1925.

He directed silent movies like ‘The Higher Law’ in 1923, ‘Lazybones’ and ‘Wages for Wives’ in 1925, ‘Early to Wed’ in 1926 and ‘Seventh Heaven’ in 1927 starring Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor for which he won the best director’s award.

In 1929 he made ‘Lucky Star’ starring Gaynor and Farrell and his last silent film ‘The River’ starring Farrell and Mary Duncan.

He made his first hit talkie ‘They Had to See Paris’ in 1929 starring Will Rogers, ‘Song o’ My Heart’ in 1930 starring John McCormack and then ‘Lilom’. He was again successful with ‘Bad Girl’ starring Sally Eilers and James Dunn which brought him his second Academy Award for ‘Best Director’.

His last films with Fox were ‘Young as You Feel’ in 1931, followed by ‘After Tomorrow’ starring Spencer Tracy and ‘Young America’ in 1932.

Borzage directed the classic ‘Farewell to Arms’ in 1932 based on Ernest Hemingway’s book, starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes, ‘Secrets’ starring Mary Pickford and Leslie Howard and ‘Man’s Castle’ starring Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young in 1933.

‘No Greater Glory’ starring George Breakston and ‘Little Man, What Now?’ starring Douglass Montgomery and Margaret Sullavan were made by Borzage in 1934.

He joined ‘Warner Bros’ and made ‘Flirtation Walk’ starring Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler in 1934.

In 1935 he made ‘Living on Velvet’ and ‘Stranded’ both starring George Brent and Kay Francis and ‘Shipmates Forever’ starring Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler.

In 1936 he paired Dick Powell and Marion Davies in the musical ‘Hearts Divided’ and Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper in the romantic comedy ‘Desire’.

He next romantic film was ‘History is Made at Night’ in 1937 starring Charles Boyer, Jean Arthur and Colin Clive.

He settled down at MGM and made ‘Big City’ in 1937 starring Spencer Tracy and Luise Rainer.

He directed Joan Crawford in three films, ‘Mannequin’ and ‘Shining Hour’ in 1938 and ‘Strange Cargo’ in 1940.

He made ‘Three Comrades’ in 1938 starring Robert Taylor, Robert Young, Franchot Tone and Margaret Sullavan, ‘The Mortal Storm’ starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in 1940.

The quality of his direction declined a little with ‘Flight Command’ and ‘Smiling Through’ in 1941.

His best film during this period was ‘Stage Door Canteen’ in 1943 which had a long list of stars.

In 1944 he made ‘Till We Meet Again’ starring Ray Milland and Barbara Britton.

He switched from MGM to the RKO studio in 1945 where he made a gentle satire ‘The Spanish Main’.

He again moved from RKO to ‘Republic Pictures’ and made the finest movie during the end of his career titled ‘Moonrise’ in 1949.

During the mid 1950s he directed three installments of the ‘Screen Director’s Playhouse’ series.

After 1949 he next directed a World War II drama ‘China Doll’ in 1958 which starred Victor Mature and Ward Bond.

The religious epic ‘The big Fisherman’ was his last film in 1959 starring Howard Keel and Susan Kohner.

In 1962 he directed some uncredited sequences in the film ‘Journey Beneath The Desert’.

Awards & Achievements

Frank Borzage won the ‘Kinema Junpo Award’ for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ in 1928 and the ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Director’ in 1929 for ‘7th Heaven (1927)’.

In 1932 he won the Oscar for the ‘Best Director’ for a second time for the film ‘Bad Girl (1931)’.

In 1935 he won ‘The Fascist Party Cup’ for the ‘Best Foreign Film’ and was nominated for the ‘Mussolini Cup’ for ‘No Greater Glory (1934)’ at the ‘Venice Film Festival’.

In 1955 and 1957 he received the ‘George Eastman Award’ from the ‘George Eastman House’.

He was honored with a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ in 1960.

In 1961 he was honored with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the ‘Director’s Guild of America’.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Lorena ‘Rena’ Rogers in 1916 and divorced her in 1941.

In 1945 he married Edna Skelton, the ex-wife of comedian Red Skelton and divorced her in 1949.

He finally married Juanita Scott, an accountant, in 1953 and was with her till his death.

Frank Borzage died of cancer in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on June 19, 1962.

Trivia

Frank Borzage was treated for alcoholism many times but he stopped drinking after marrying Juanita.

// Famous Directors

Frank Borzage biography timelines

  • // 23rd Apr 1894
    Frank Borzage was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA on April 23, 1894. His father was Luigi Borzage, an Italian stonemason, and his mother was Maria Ruegg, a Swiss woman. They had fourteen children but only eight survived. Frank was the fourth of the surviving eight comprising of Henry, Mary Emma, Bill, Frank, Daniel, Lew, Dolly and Sue.
  • // 1914
    Frank Borzage got his first lead role in the melodrama 'The Wrath of the Gods’ in 1914.
  • // 1915 To 1916
    He continued acting in lead roles for Ince and started directing films as well. He started with small one reel films like ‘The Pitch O’ Chance’ in 1915 and ‘The Silken Spider’ in 1916.
  • // 1916 To 1917
    A large number of his early films were either westerns like ‘Nugget Jim’s Parrdner’ in 1916 or thrillers like ‘The Ghost Flower’ in 1917 starring William Desmond, Bessie Love, Gloria Swanson and Pauline Starke.
  • // 1916 To 1941
    He married Lorena ‘Rena’ Rogers in 1916 and divorced her in 1941.
  • // 1920
    In 1920 he made the sentimental drama ‘Humoresque’ in his characteristic style which made him very popular.
  • // 1925
    He moved from ‘Paramount Pictures’ to ‘First National Pictures’ to ‘MGM and finally landed up in ‘Fox Film Corporation’ in 1925.
  • // 1929
    In 1929 he made ‘Lucky Star’ starring Gaynor and Farrell and his last silent film ‘The River’ starring Farrell and Mary Duncan.
  • // 1929 To 1930
    He made his first hit talkie ‘They Had to See Paris’ in 1929 starring Will Rogers, ‘Song o’ My Heart’ in 1930 starring John McCormack and then ‘Lilom’. He was again successful with ‘Bad Girl’ starring Sally Eilers and James Dunn which brought him his second Academy Award for ‘Best Director’.
  • // 1931 To 1932
    His last films with Fox were ‘Young as You Feel’ in 1931, followed by ‘After Tomorrow’ starring Spencer Tracy and ‘Young America’ in 1932.
  • // 1931 To 1932
    In 1932 he won the Oscar for the ‘Best Director’ for a second time for the film ‘Bad Girl (1931)’.
  • // 1932 To 1933
    Borzage directed the classic ‘Farewell to Arms’ in 1932 based on Ernest Hemingway’s book, starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes, ‘Secrets’ starring Mary Pickford and Leslie Howard and ‘Man’s Castle’ starring Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young in 1933.
  • // 1934
    ‘No Greater Glory’ starring George Breakston and ‘Little Man, What Now?’ starring Douglass Montgomery and Margaret Sullavan were made by Borzage in 1934.
  • // 1934
    He joined ‘Warner Bros’ and made ‘Flirtation Walk’ starring Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler in 1934.
  • // 1934 To 1935
    In 1935 he won ‘The Fascist Party Cup’ for the ‘Best Foreign Film’ and was nominated for the ‘Mussolini Cup’ for ‘No Greater Glory (1934)’ at the ‘Venice Film Festival’.
  • // 1935
    In 1935 he made ‘Living on Velvet’ and ‘Stranded’ both starring George Brent and Kay Francis and ‘Shipmates Forever’ starring Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler.
  • // 1936
    In 1936 he paired Dick Powell and Marion Davies in the musical ‘Hearts Divided’ and Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper in the romantic comedy ‘Desire’.
  • // 1937
    He next romantic film was ‘History is Made at Night’ in 1937 starring Charles Boyer, Jean Arthur and Colin Clive.
  • // 1937
    He settled down at MGM and made ‘Big City’ in 1937 starring Spencer Tracy and Luise Rainer.
  • // 1938 To 1940
    He directed Joan Crawford in three films, ‘Mannequin’ and ‘Shining Hour’ in 1938 and ‘Strange Cargo’ in 1940.
  • // 1938 To 1940
    He made ‘Three Comrades’ in 1938 starring Robert Taylor, Robert Young, Franchot Tone and Margaret Sullavan, ‘The Mortal Storm’ starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in 1940.
  • // 1941
    The quality of his direction declined a little with ‘Flight Command’ and ‘Smiling Through’ in 1941.
  • // 1943
    His best film during this period was ‘Stage Door Canteen’ in 1943 which had a long list of stars.
  • // 1944
    In 1944 he made ‘Till We Meet Again’ starring Ray Milland and Barbara Britton.
  • // 1945
    He switched from MGM to the RKO studio in 1945 where he made a gentle satire ‘The Spanish Main’.
  • // 1945 To 1949
    In 1945 he married Edna Skelton, the ex-wife of comedian Red Skelton and divorced her in 1949.
  • // 1949
    He again moved from RKO to ‘Republic Pictures’ and made the finest movie during the end of his career titled ‘Moonrise’ in 1949.
  • // 1949 To 1958
    After 1949 he next directed a World War II drama ‘China Doll’ in 1958 which starred Victor Mature and Ward Bond.
  • // 1953
    He finally married Juanita Scott, an accountant, in 1953 and was with her till his death.
  • // 1955 To 1957
    In 1955 and 1957 he received the ‘George Eastman Award’ from the ‘George Eastman House’.
  • // 1959
    The religious epic ‘The big Fisherman’ was his last film in 1959 starring Howard Keel and Susan Kohner.
  • // 1960
    He was honored with a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ in 1960.
  • // 1961
    In 1961 he was honored with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the ‘Director’s Guild of America’.
  • // 1962
    In 1962 he directed some uncredited sequences in the film ‘Journey Beneath The Desert’.
  • // 19th Jun 1962
    Frank Borzage died of cancer in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on June 19, 1962.

// Famous Film & Theater Personalities

Frank Borzage's FAQ

  • What is Frank Borzage birthday?

    Frank Borzage was born at 1894-04-23

  • When was Frank Borzage died?

    Frank Borzage was died at 1962-06-19

  • Where was Frank Borzage died?

    Frank Borzage was died in Hollywood, California, U.S.

  • Which age was Frank Borzage died?

    Frank Borzage was died at age 68

  • Where is Frank Borzage's birth place?

    Frank Borzage was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.

  • What is Frank Borzage nationalities?

    Frank Borzage's nationalities is American

  • Who is Frank Borzage spouses?

    Frank Borzage's spouses is divorced 1941), divorced 1949), Edna Stillwell Skelton (married 1945), Rena Rogers (married 1916)

  • Who is Frank Borzage siblings?

    Frank Borzage's siblings is Bill, Daniel, Dolly, Frank, Henry, Lew, Mary Emma, Sue

  • Who is Frank Borzage's father?

    Frank Borzage's father is Luigi Borzage

  • Who is Frank Borzage's mother?

    Frank Borzage's mother is Maria Ruegg

  • What is Frank Borzage's sun sign?

    Frank Borzage is Taurus

  • How famous is Frank Borzage?

    Frank Borzage is famouse as Film Director, Actor