Hal B. Wallis

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Hal B. Wallis
HalWallis.jpg
Born Harold Brent Wallis
(1898-09-14)September 14, 1898
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died October 5, 1986(1986-10-05) (aged 88)
Rancho Mirage, California
Cause of death
Diabetes
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California
Occupation Film producer
Years active 1931–1983
Spouse(s) Louise Fazenda
(m. 1927-1962; her death; 1 child)
Martha Hyer
(m. 1966-1986; his death)

Harold Brent "Hal" Wallis (September 14, 1898 – October 5, 1986) was an American film producer. He is best remembered for producing Casablanca (1942), and other films for Warner Bros. featuring such film stars as Bette Davis and Errol Flynn. Later, for a long period, he was connected with Paramount Pictures and oversaw films featuring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Elvis Presley, and John Wayne.

Life and career[edit]

Harold Brent Wallis was born in 1898 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Eva (née Blum) and Jacob Walinsky, Eastern European Jews, who changed their surname to Wallis.[1][2] His family moved in 1922 to Los Angeles, California, where he found work as part of the publicity department at Warner Bros. in 1923. Within a few years, Wallis became involved in the production end of the business and would eventually become head of production at Warners. In a career that spanned more than fifty years, he was involved with the production of more than 400 feature-length movies.

Among the significant movies he produced were Casablanca, Dark Victory, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Maltese Falcon, Sergeant York, and Now, Voyager. He left Warners in 1944, after a clash with Jack Warner over Warner's acceptance of the Best Picture Oscar for Casablanca, to work as an independent producer, enjoying considerable success both commercially and critically. The first screenwriters he hired for his new enterprise were Ayn Rand and Lillian Hellman.[3] Among his financial hits were the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedies, and several of Elvis Presley's movies.

He produced True Grit, for which John Wayne won the Academy Award for Best Actor of 1969, and its sequel. After moving to Universal Pictures he produced Mary, Queen of Scots (starring Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson) and Anne of the Thousand Days (starring Richard Burton and Genevieve Bujold). He received sixteen Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, winning for Casablanca in 1943. For his consistently high quality of motion picture production, he was twice honored with the Academy Awards' Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. He was also nominated for seven Golden Globe awards, twice winning awards for Best Picture. In 1975, he received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures. In 1980 he published his autobiography, Starmaker, co-written with Charles Higham.

Marriages[edit]

Wallis was married twice, to actress Louise Fazenda from 1927 until her death in 1962, and to actress Martha Hyer from 1966 until his death in 1986.

Death[edit]

Wallis died in 1986 of complications of diabetes in Rancho Mirage, California, at the age of eighty-eight. News of his passing was not released until after his private service was completed. U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan sent condolences to the Wallis family.[4] He is interred in a crypt at the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

In popular culture[edit]

Wallis was portrayed by actor Bill Lake in the 2002 CBS television film Martin and Lewis.

Filmography[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

Year Award Film Winner
1931–32 Outstanding Production Five Star Final Irving ThalbergGrand Hotel
1932–33 I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang Winfield SheehanCavalcade
1934 Flirtation Walk Harry CohnIt Happened One Night
1935 Captain Blood Irving Thalberg and Albert LewinMutiny on the Bounty
1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood Frank CapraYou Can't Take It With You
Four Daughters
Jezebel
1940 All This, and Heaven Too David O. SelznickRebecca
The Letter
1941 Outstanding Motion Picture The Maltese Falcon Darryl F. ZanuckHow Green Was My Valley
One Foot in Heaven
Sergeant York
1942 Kings Row Sidney FranklinMrs. Miniver
Yankee Doodle Dandy
1943 Casablanca Won
Watch on the Rhine Hal B. Wallis – Casablanca
1955 Best Motion Picture The Rose Tattoo Harold HechtMarty
1964 Best Picture Becket Jack WarnerMy Fair Lady
1969 Anne of the Thousand Days Jerome HellmanMidnight Cowboy

1938 and 1943 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Awards

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ http://www.filmreference.com/film/46/Hal-Wallis.html
  3. ^ Berliner, Michael, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand, New York: Dutton, 1995, p. 148.
  4. ^ "Producer Hall Wallis succumbs", Minden Press-Herald, Minden, Louisiana, October 8, 1986, p. 3B

External links[edit]