André de Toth

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André de Toth
André de Toth.jpg
Born Sasvári farkasfalvi tótfalusi Tóth Endre Antal Mihály
(1912-05-15)15 May 1912
Makó, Csanád County, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)
Died 27 October 2002(2002-10-27) (aged 90)
Burbank, California, U.S.
Occupation Film director
Years active 1939–1987
Spouse(s) Veronica Lake (m. 1944–52)
Marie Louise Stratton (m. 1953–82)
Ann Green (m. 19??–2002)
Children Andre Anthony Michael De Toth (b. 1945)
Diana De Toth (b. 1948)
Michelle Stratton de Toth
Nicolas Stratton de Toth

André de Toth (15 May 1912[1][2] – 27 October 2002) was a Hungarian-American film director, born and raised in Makó, Csanád, Hungary in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[3] He directed the 3-D film House of Wax, despite being unable to see in 3-D himself, having lost an eye at an early age. He is known for his gritty B movies in the western and crime genres.


Born in 1912 as sasvári farkasfalvi tótfalusi Tóth Endre Antal Mihály, he earned a degree in law from the Royal Hungarian Pázmány Péter Science's University in Budapest in the early 1930s. He garnered acclaim for plays written as a college student, acquiring the mentorship of Ferenc Molnár and becoming part of the theater scene in Budapest. From that involvement he segued to the film industry and worked as a writer, assistant director, editor and sometime actor. In 1939 he directed five films just before war began in Europe. Several of these pictures received significant release in the Hungarian communities in the United States. De Toth went to England, spent several years as an assistant to fellow Jewish-Hungarian émigré Alexander Korda, and eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1942.[citation needed]

Based on his Hungarian films, the production work for Korda and writing he had done on American projects during earlier stints in Los Angeles, de Toth was given an oral contract as a director at Columbia from which he ultimately extricated himself by litigation. As he preferred working as an independent, de Toth had no “A” budgets early in his career and had to supplement his directing income with writing assignments, often uncredited. Introduced to Westerns by John Ford, de Toth worked mostly in that genre throughout the 1950s, often bringing elements of noir style into those films.[4] In 1951 he received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing (with co-writer William Bowers) for the story filmed as The Gunfighter. While largely remembered as the director of the earliest and most successful 3-D film, House of Wax, he also was responsible for two of the noir cycle's most unusual examples: Pitfall and Crime Wave.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

During his seven mariages De Toth became father and stepfather of 19 children.[5] His wives included:

  • Veronica Lake, to whom he was married from 1944 until 1952. They had a son, Andre Anthony Michael De Toth (October 25, 1945 – February 24, 1991 Olympia, Washington) and a daughter, Diana De Toth (born October 16, 1948). They divorced in 1952.
  • Marie Louise Stratton, to whom he was married from 1953 until 1982, when they divorced. This marriage also produced two children, Michelle and Nicolas.
  • He was married to Ann Green at the time of his death; they had no children together.


In 1996, he published his memoir, Fragments – Portraits from the Inside (London: Faber and Faber, 1994).


On October 27, 2002, de Toth died from an aneurysm. He was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.[6]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ The Los Angeles Times indicated in de Toth's obituary that found some birth listings as early as 1910.
  2. ^ Rick Lyman (2002-11-01). "Andre De Toth, the Director Of Noted 3-D Film, Is Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-09.  lists de Toth's year of birth as 1913, as does the United States Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
  3. ^ André de Toth at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Obituary
  5. ^ Lyman, Rick (November 1, 2002). "Andre De Toth, the Director Of Noted 3-D Film, Is Dead". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Interment at Forest Lawn

Further reading[edit]

  • Anthony Slide (editor), De Toth on De Toth: Putting the Drama In Front of the Camera (Faber, 1996)

External links[edit]