Norman Foster (director)
December 13, 1903
Richmond, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||July 7, 1976
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, director, screenwriter|
|Spouse(s)||Claudette Colbert (1928-1935; divorced)
Sally Blane (1937-1976; his death); 2 children
Norman Foster (December 13, 1903 – July 7, 1976) was an American film director and actor.
Life and work
Born John Hoeffer in Richmond, Indiana, Foster originally became a cub reporter on a local newspaper in Indiana before going to New York in the hopes of getting a better newspaper job but there were no vacancies. He tried a number of theatrical agencies before getting stage work and later appeared on Broadway in the George S. Kaufman/Ring Lardner play June Moon in 1929. He also acted in London.
He began working in crowd scenes in films before moving to bigger parts. His film acting credits include:
- It Pays to Advertise (1931)
- Week-End Marriage (1932)
- Prosperity (1932)
- Pilgrimage (1933)
- Professional Sweetheart (1933 film)
- Rafter Romance (1933)
- State Fair (1933)
- Strictly Dynamite (1934)
- The Bishop Misbehaves (1935)
- Ladies Crave Excitement (1935)
- Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939)
He wrote several plays. He gave up acting in the late 1930s to pursue directing, although he occasionally appeared in movies and television programs.
Some of Foster's directorial efforts include The Sign of Zorro (1958), and the stylish films noir Kiss the Blood off My Hands (1948), Woman on the Run (1950) and Journey into Fear (1943). Foster directed Rachel and the Stranger and the Davy Crockett segments of Disneyland that were edited into feature films Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates where he did not accept any interference from Walt Disney.
Foster's second verse of his lyrics to Disney's Zorro theme song which was "He is polite, but the wicked take flight, when they catch the sight of Zorro. He's friend of the weak, and the poor, and the meek, this very unique Senor Zorro." never aired on the television series. This version of the Zorro Theme including these verses was performed by The Chordettes. These verses later appeared in the Disney Sing-Along Songs version of the Zorro Theme in its 1987 direct-to-video episode, "Heigh-Ho".
In 1967, he directed Brighty of the Grand Canyon, based on a children's novel by Marguerite Henry about a burro in the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. It was rumored that Orson Welles took over direction of Journey Into Fear, which Welles later denied. Foster was the director of the "My Friend Bonito" segment of Orson Welles' Pan-American anthology film It's All True until RKO aborted the project.
Foster directed a number of Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto mysteries, including Charlie Chan in Panama (1940), Charlie Chan at Treasure Island (1939), Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939), Charlie Chan in Reno (1939), Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939), Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938), Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938), Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937), and Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937).
Foster was married to Claudette Colbert from 1928 until their divorce in 1935. In October 1935, he wed actress Sally Blane, an older sister of Loretta Young. They had their first child in June 1936 named Gretchen after Loretta Young, They also had a son named Robert.
- Lewis, Judy (1994). Uncommon Knowledge.