Dwan during his earlier years in silent film
|Born||Joseph Aloysius Dwan
3 April 1885
|Died||28 December 1981
Los Angeles, United States
|Spouse(s)||Pauline Bush (1915–1919)
Marie Shelton (1927–1949)
Allan Dwan (3 April 1885 – 28 December 1981) was a pioneering Canadian-born American motion picture director, producer and screenwriter.
Born Joseph Aloysius Dwan in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Dwan moved with his family to the United States when he was 11 years old. At the University of Notre Dame, he trained as an engineer and began working for a lighting company in Chicago. However, he had a strong interest in the fledgling motion picture industry and when Essanay Studios offered him the opportunity to become a scriptwriter, he took the job. At that time, some of the East Coast movie makers began to spend winters in California where the climate allowed them to continue productions requiring warm weather. Soon, a number of movie companies worked there year-round and, in 1911, Dwan began working part-time in Hollywood. While still in New York, in 1917 he was the founding president of the East Coast chapter of the Motion Picture Directors Association.
Dwan operated Flying A Studios in La Mesa, California from August 1911 to July 1912. Flying A was one of the first motion pictures studios in California history. On 12 August 2011, a plaque was unveiled on the Wolff building at Third Ave and La Mesa Bl commemorating Dwan and the Flying A Studios origins in La Mesa, California.
After making a series of westerns and comedies, Dwan directed fellow Canadian Mary Pickford in several very successful movies as well as her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, notably in the acclaimed 1922 Robin Hood.
Dwan also helped launch the career of two other very successful Hollywood directors, Victor Fleming, who went on to direct The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, and Marshall Neilan, who became an actor, director, writer and producer.
Over his long and successful career spanning over 50 years, he directed over 400 motion pictures, many of them highly acclaimed, such as the 1949 box office smash, Sands of Iwo Jima. He directed his last movie in 1961.
Partial filmography as director
- Brownlow, Kevin, The Parade's Gone By... (1968) ISBN 0520030680 ISBN 978-0520030688
- Bogdanovich, Peter, Allan Dwan: The Last Pioneer (1971) ISBN 0289701228 ISBN 978-0289701225
- Foster, Charles, Stardust and Shadows: Canadians in Early Hollywood (2000) ISBN 1-55002-348-9
- Lombardi, Frederic, Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios (2013)
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