4 October 1916|
Long Island City, New York, United States
5 May 2002 (aged 85)|
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Lillian Burns (divorced)|
Jane Robinson (1973–1991)
Corinne Cole (1991–2002)
George Sidney (October 4, 1916 – May 5, 2002) was an American film director and film producer who worked primarily at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Sidney was born to a Hungarian Jewish family in Long Island City, New York. Both Sidney's parents were actors and Sidney began acting as a child on stage and in silent films. He worked as a musician.
Director of Shorts at MGM
Sidney's father got a job as an executive at Loew's Inc. Sidney got a job at MGM as a messenger and worked his way up to office boy. He moved into directing screen tests and second unit as well as taking stills.
Sidney was assigned to direct the Our Gang comedies, which MGM had just acquired from Hal Roach, in 1938. Sidney, then age 21, was the youngest Our Gang senior director the series would have, and was only nine years older than the eldest Our Gang kid, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer's brother Harold Switzer.
Sidney graduated to directing features with Free and Easy (1941). He followed it with Pacific Rendezvous (1942) and Pilot No. 5 (1942). He then worked his way into directing large scale musicals such as The Harvey Girls (1946), The Three Musketeers (1948), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), and Kiss Me Kate (1953).
Sidney left MGM to make The Eddy Duchin Story (1956) at Columbia Pictures where he made his base for the next decade for such films as Jeanne Eagels (1957), Pal Joey (1957), Who Was That Lady? (1960), Pepe (1960), and Bye Bye Birdie (1963).
Sidney became good friends with MGM animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Hanna and Barbera's Jerry Mouse appeared alongside Gene Kelly in Sidney's film Anchors Aweigh (1945). After MGM closed its animation studio in 1957, Sidney helped Hanna and Barbera form a deal with Screen Gems, the television division of Columbia Pictures, to form the successful television animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions, and was a shareholder in the company. Sidney later featured Hanna-Barbera's Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Huckleberry Hound, and Yogi Bear in Bye Bye Birdie (1963).
In 1961, Sidney appeared as himself, along with the canine Lassie, in the episode "The Stones Go To Hollywood" of the ABC sitcom, The Donna Reed Show. The episode plugged Sidney's then current feature film, Pepe, in which Donna Reed makes a cameo appearance.
Sidney was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award four times, starting with the lush Technicolor remake of Show Boat. In 1958 he was presented with a Golden Globe Award for Best World Entertainment through Musical Films. For his work in the art of cinema, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1966, Variety listed Sidney as the director with the most films earning rentals of $4,000,000 or more in the United States and Canada with 12 films on the list with a total rental of $57.25 million. Based on the rentals listed for other directors, his ranking was fourth based on total rentals. His top performing films were Bye Bye Birdie, The Eddy Duchin Story, Show Boat, Pepe, Pal Joey, Viva Las Vegas, Annie Get Your Gun, Anchors Aweigh, The Harvey Girls, The Three Musketeers, Cass Timberlane, and Holiday in Mexico. He was ranked second 11 years later.
He was married three times: first to Lillian Burns (divorced), then to Jane Robinson (1973–1991), and finally to Corinne Cole (1991–2002), until his death from complications of lymphoma in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 85.
Awards and nominations
|1952||Directors Guild of America||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures||Show Boat||Nominated|
|1953||Directors Guild of America||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures||Scaramouche||Nominated|
|1954||Directors Guild of America||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures||Young Bess||Nominated|
|1957||Directors Guild of America||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures||The Eddy Duchin Story||Nominated|
|1959||Directors Guild of America||DGA Honorary Life Member Award||Won|
|1986||Directors Guild of America||Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award||Won|
|1998||Directors Guild of America||President's Award||Won|
|1995||Golden Apple Award||Louella Parsons Award||Won|
|1958||Golden Globe Award||Best World Entertainment Through Musical Films||Won|
|1993||San Luis Obispo International Film Festival||King Vidor Memorial Award||Won|
- Pilot #5 (1943)
- Thousands Cheer (1943)
- Bathing Beauty (1944)
- Anchors Aweigh (1945)
- Ziegfeld Follies (1945)
- The Harvey Girls (1946)
- Holiday in Mexico (1946)
- Cass Timberlane (1947)
- The Three Musketeers (1948)
- The Red Danube (1949)
- Key to the City (1950)
- Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
- Show Boat (1951)
- Scaramouche (1952)
- Young Bess (1953)
- Kiss Me Kate (1953)
- Jupiter's Darling (1955)
- The Eddy Duchin Story (1956)
- Jeanne Eagels (1957)
- Pal Joey (1957)
- Pepe (1960)
- Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
- A Ticklish Affair (1963)
- Viva Las Vegas (1964)
- The Swinger (1966)
- Half a Sixpence (1967)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Sidney.|
- Cones, John. Motion Picture Biographies: The Hollywood Spin on Historical Figures. p. 62. ISBN 9781628941166.
- Davis p 60-62
- "Star, Producer, Director Identification with All-Time Top-Grossing Features". Variety. January 5, 1966. p. 3.
- "Stevenson preps his 20th Disney film in 21 years". Daily Variety. July 14, 1977. p. 1.