John Farrow and family in 1950
|Born||John Villiers Farrow
10 February 1904
|Died||27 January 1963
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor director, producer and screenwriter|
|Spouse(s)||Felice Lewin (1924-1934) (divorced) (1 child)
Maureen O'Sullivan (1936–1963; his death; 7 children)
John Villiers Farrow, KGCHS (10 February 1904 – 27 January 1963) was an Australian-American film director, producer and screenwriter. In 1957, he won the Academy Award for Best Writing/Best Screenplay for Around the World in Eighty Days and in 1942 he was nominated as Best Director for Wake Island. He had seven children by his wife, actress Maureen O'Sullivan, including actress Mia Farrow.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Awards and honours
- 5 Australian connection
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Books
- 8 Play
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Farrow was born in Sydney, Australia, the son of Lucy Villiers (née Savage; 1881-1907), a dressmaker, and Joseph Farrow (1880-1925), a tailor's trimmer. His mother died when he was three years old. His parents were both of English descent. Farrow was educated at Newtown Public School and Fort Street Boys' High School and then started a career in accountancy. He claimed to have run away to sea in an American barquentine, sailed "all over the Pacific", and fought in revolts in Nicaragua and Mexico. Reaching the United States, he enrolled at the Jesuits' St Ignatius College in San Francisco in 1923, but left after one month. He traveled throughout the Pacific, including Fiji, Hawaii and Guam. On arrival in Hollywood, Farrow fabricated his education, saying he had attended Newington College in Sydney, Australia (he lived in a street below its ovals), Winchester College in England and the US Naval Academy. Many publications and websites still contain this information.
Farrow started writing while working as a sailor and became interested in screenwriting after a chance voyage in the South Seas with the film-maker Robert J. Flaherty. Re-entering the United States, allegedly by jumping ship at San Francisco, he found his way to Hollywood where from 1927 his nautical expertise brought him work as a script consultant and technical adviser. He had already earned minor recognition as a poet and writer of short stories. He soon established himself as a notable screenwriter. He worked for DeMille Productions, Paramount Pictures and RKO Radio Pictures Inc.
He compiled an English-French-Tahitian dictionary and wrote a novel, Laughter Ends (1933), In 1932 he went to England where he worked as a writer and assistant director on G. W. Pabst's film of Don Quixote, and briefly visited Tahiti again.
Farrow returned to Hollywood and re-established himself as a screenwriter. On 27 January 1933, while dancing at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, he was arrested for breach of his visa, as part of a general crackdown against illegal immigrants in the film industry. Farrow was charged with making a false statement while entering the US, having claimed he was Romanian. Although threatened with deportation, eventually he was given five years probation, before being acquitted of the charges the following year.
In 1930, it was announced that Farrow would direct his own story First Love but this did not eventuate. He signed to Warner Bros in 1936 looking to direct and was linked with a number of projects, including a foreign legion story and an adaptation of The Pit and the Pendulum. Farrow finally made his directorial debut in 1937 with Men in Exile. Following this, he accompanied his wife to Europe, where she was making A Yank at Oxford (1938), lecturing on Father Damien, about whom Farrow had written a book, and receiving a Papal knighthood.
On his return to Hollywood, Farrow resumed working as a director for Warners. He made several movies with Kay Francis and discovered a young Peggy Ann Garner. Farrow left his contract for a number of months, ostensibly to finish a book he was writing on the history of the papacy, and also due to disputes over the script of Kay Francis's Women in the Wind. However he soon re-emerged as a contract director for RKO. While there he made a number of highly successful B movies, notably The Saint Strikes Back (1939) and Five Came Back (1939).
"I deliberately set out to become the damndest commercial director in the business," he said later. "The only way to get anywhere in hospital is to make money pictures. Then you can get some measure of respect and authority from the studio bosses, and little by little you get to do more of the things you want to do."
Despite his flourishing career and recently having become a father for the first time, Farrow was keen to be involved in World War II. He went to Vancouver in November 1939 and enlisted in the Canadian Navy. Farrow was appointed lieutenant in March 1940 and assigned to Naval History and the Controller of Information Unit. He worked on anti-submarine patrols and in April 1941 was loaned to the Royal Navy and appointed to HMS Goshawk naval base in Trinidad, and served as assistant to the Senior British Naval Officer, Curaçao. He contracted typhus fever and returned to Naval Headquarters, Ottawa, in late 1941. It was announced he would direct a Canadian war film starring his wife Maureen O'Sullivan while on leave, but this did not eventuate.
Farrow was invalided out of the Canadian Navy with typhus in January 1942 at the rank of Commander but remained in the naval reserve.
In July 1943 he served as technical consultant for the proposed Royal Canadian Navy show. In May 1945 he was briefly recalled to active duty, travelling to Britain for work in connection with the Director of Special Services.
Return to directing
Farrow resumed his directing career with Paramount for whom he made Wake Island (1942), which earned him an Oscar nomination. The success of this saw him make a series of war pictures including China. He signed a long term contract with Paramount in February 1943 and went on to become one of the leading filmmakers for the studio, working several times with Alan Ladd.
Farrow became an American citizen in July 1947.
Farrow's films became less distinguished towards the end of the 1950s. He received an offer from Samuel Bronston to make two films, a biography of John Paul Jones and a story of the life of Jesus Christ, which Farrow had been trying to make for years. He made the first one - John Paul Jones - and was replaced as director on the second by Nicholas Ray – King of Kings (1961).
In 1934 he became engaged to actress Maureen O'Sullivan and they married on 12 September 1936. Farrow and O'Sullivan had seven children: four daughters, who became actresses, Mia (born 1945), Prudence (born 1948), Stephanie (born 1949), Tisa (born 1951); and three sons, Michael Damien (1939–1958), Patrick Joseph (1942–2009), and John Charles (born 1946). Maureen O'Sullivan was his second wife, after he converted to Catholicism and received an annulment of his first marriage.
Awards and honours
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre by Pope Pius XI in 1937.
- Oscar nomination and New York Film Critics Circle Award for directing Wake Island (1942).
- Order of St John of Jerusalem 1951
- Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1953.
- Oscar and Writers Guild of America Award for his adapted screenplay for Around the World in Eighty Days (1956).
- His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 6304 Hollywood Blvd.
As one of the few high-profile Australians in Hollywood during the 1930s, Farrow's activities were well covered by the Australian media. He accepted the Oscar won by the Australian documentary Kokoda Front Line! (1943), met Australian Senator Richard Keane, the Minister for Trade and Customs, when he visited Hollywood during the war and offered to assist in the establishment of an Australian information service in the US. He also often expressed a desire to make a film back in Australia and later made two films with Australian connections, Botany Bay (1953) and The Sea Chase (1955), despite having ceased to be an Australian citizen in 1947.
- White Gold (1927) – titles
- The Wreck of the Hesperus (1927) – story
- A Sailor's Sweetheart (1927)
- Three Weekends (1928)
- The Woman From Moscow (1928)
- The First Kiss (1928)
- Ladies of the Mob (1928)
- The Blue Danube (1928) – story
- The Showdown (1928) – titles
- The Bride of the Colorado (1928) – story
- The Four Feathers (1929) – titles
- The Wheel of Life (1929) – adaptation
- A Dangerous Woman (1929)
- Wolf Song (1929)
- Inside the Lines (1930) – dialogue
- Shadow of the Law (1930)
- The Bad One (1930) – story
- Seven Days' Leave (1930) – continuity and dialogue
- The Common Law (1931)
- A Woman of Experience (1931) – dialogue & screenplay, based on his play 'A Registered Woman'
- The Impassive Footman (1932)
- Adventures of Don Quixote (1933) – w (English version)
- Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) (uncredited)
- Last of the Pagans (1935) – original story
- Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
- The Spectacle Maker (1934) – also writer
- Tarzan Escapes (1936) (uncredited) – also writer
- Men in Exile (1937)
- She Loved a Fireman (1937)
- West of Shanghai (1937)
- Comet Over Broadway (1938) (uncredited)
- Broadway Musketeers (1938)
- My Bill (1938)
- Little Miss Thoroughbred (1938)
- The Invisible Menace (1938)
- Reno (1939)
- Full Confession (1939)
- Five Came Back (1939)
- Sorority House (1939)
- Women in the Wind (1939)
- The Saint Strikes Back (1939)
- A Bill of Divorcement (1940)
- Married and in Love (1940)
- Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942)
- Wake Island (1942)
- China (1943)
- The Hitler Gang (1944)
- You Came Along (1945)
- Two Years Before the Mast (1946)
- California (1947)
- Blaze of Noon (1947)
- Calcutta (1947)
- Easy Come, Easy Go (1947)
- Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)
- Beyond Glory (1948)
- The Big Clock (1948) – also producer
- Red, Hot and Blue (1949) – also writer
- Alias Nick Beal (1949)
- Copper Canyon (1950)
- Where Danger Lives (1950)
- Red Mountain (1951) - uncredited assistance
- Submarine Command (1951) – also producer
- His Kind of Woman (1951)
- Hondo (1953)
- Plunder of the Sun (1953)
- Ride, Vaquero! (1953)
- Botany Bay (1953)
- A Bullet Is Waiting (1954)
- The Sea Chase (1955) – also producer
- Back from Eternity (1956) – also producer
- The Unholy Wife (1957) – also writer, producer
- John Paul Jones (1959) – also writer
Screenplays for unrealized films
- A Friend of Napoleon (1927) – adapted from story by Richard Connell for director William K Howard and produced Cecil B de Mille
- Father Damien (1939), adapted from Farrow's book Damien the Leper (1937)
- The Bad Ones (1930) – novel
- Laughter Ends (1933) – novel
- Damien the Leper (1937) – biography of Father Damien
- The Royal Canadian Navy 1908–1940 (1940) – history
- Pageant of the Popes (1950) – history of the papacy
- Seven Poems in Pattern (1955) – collection of poetry
- Story of Sir Thomas More (1956) – biography of Thomas More
- A Registered Woman (1931)
- According to the State of California. California Death Index, 1940–1997. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/caldeaths
- "Mia Farrow's Interactive Family Tree". PBS. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
- Hazlehurst, Cameron (2006). "Farrow, John Villiers (1904–1963)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- Profile, Tcm.com; retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "MOTION PICTURE STARS". Portland Guardian. Vic.: National Library of Australia. 20 September 1928. p. 5 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Letter from London.". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 17 December 1932. p. 9. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "AUSTRALIAN ARRESTED IN FILM RAID.". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 28 January 1933. p. 1. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "GENERAL CABLE NEWS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 10 February 1933. p. 10. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "U.S.A. IMMIGRATION.". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 29 March 1933. p. 8. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "U.S.A. IMMIGRATION.". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 11 January 1934. p. 8. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "PICTURES and PERSONALITIES.". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 5 December 1936. p. 5. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "AROUND THE FILM EXCHANGES". The Mirror. Perth: National Library of Australia. 27 December 1930. p. 6. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Hollywood Roundabout". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 8 May 1937. p. 13. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Studio Gossip". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 30 October 1937. p. 2 Supplement: Ginger Meggs. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "A talented twelve-year-old". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 30 September 1944. p. 10 Section: Movie World. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Edward Small Plans to Make 'The Maginot Line'--Louis Hayward Will Be Star IF I WERE KING' TO OPEN Premiere at Paramount Today to Feature Ronald Colman and Basil Rathbone Jack London Story for Screen Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) 28 Sep 1938: 29.
- "FILM FOLK and Talkie Shots". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 4 February 1939. p. 2 Supplement: Talkie news. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- Thomas F. Brady, "ALARUM IN HOLLYWOOD: Varied Viewpoints STUDIO JOTTINGS FROM HOLLYWOOD Questioned by the Code Title Furor Cinecolor Up", New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 October 1946: p. 65
- "War News In Brief.". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 8 November 1939. p. 20. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "GENERAL CABLE NEWS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 22 March 1940. p. 8. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Hollywood has its patriots...". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 5 October 1940. p. 21 Section: The Movie World. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "FILMS YOU'LL BE SEEING SOON.". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 29 May 1943. p. 12. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Hollywood's New Romantic Team.". Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 6 May 1945. p. 4 Section: The Sunday Times COMICS. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Town Called Hollywood" Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) 08 Nov 1942: C3.
- DRAMA: 'Outlaw' Stars to Tour; 'Army' Eligibles Named Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 06 Feb 1943: A7.
- "JOHN FARROW NOW U.S. CITIZEN.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 14 July 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Secret Marriage Denial.". The Barrier Miner. Broken Hill, NSW: National Library of Australia. 25 October 1932. p. 1. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "SCREEN SHORTS.". Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 27 November 1930. p. 4. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "AUSTRALIAN SCENARIO WRITER.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 27 September 1934. p. 11 Supplement: Women's Supplement. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "California Births 1905–1995". Familytreelegends.com. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
- "GENERAL CABLE NEWS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 7 September 1936. p. 12. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "£3 A Week Waitress To Star?". The Sunday Herald. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 4 February 1951. p. 4 Supplement: Sunday Herald Features. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Flag dipped to honor film servicemen.". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 20 March 1943. p. 19. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "MINISTER'S U.S.A. VISIT EMPHASISED AUSTRALIA'S LACK OF REPRESENTATION.". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 22 January 1945. p. 2. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Australia Blows Hard On its Publicity Tin Trumpet.". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 7 April 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Kennedys Home From Hollywood.". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 8 August 1944. p. 8. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "BRAINS ENHANCES HER PULCHRITUDE: BEAUTIFUL AUSTRALIAN GIRL ARRIVES Antipodean Prize Winner Comes to Woo Fame as Picture Actress" Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) 14 June 1927: A8.
- "The World of Pictures.". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 1 September 1928. p. 23. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "AMUSEMENTS.". The Examiner. Launceston, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 12 April 1929. p. 5 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "AMUSEMENTS.". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 24 January 1929. p. 5. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "AMUSEMENTS.". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 19 January 1929. p. 3. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "SNIPING THE SHOWS.". Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 10 March 1929. p. 8 Section: First Section. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Aimee McPherson Would Convert World By Talkies: Movie News.". The Register News-Pictorial. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 19 April 1930. p. 8. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "SOUTH TOWNSVILLE TALKIES.". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 30 June 1932. p. 3. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "PICTURE THEATRES.". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 4 April 1932. p. 5. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "LONDON NOTES.". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 16 September 1932. p. 2. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "PERIL ON THE HIGH SEAS.". Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 20 September 1934. p. 39. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "FILM REVIEWS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 31 May 1937. p. 5. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Australian Directors At Work.". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 6 August 1938. p. 2 Supplement: Talkie News. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "FILM REVIEWS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 20 November 1939. p. 3. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "THE NEW HITLER FILM.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 14 August 1943. p. 7. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- LEAD IN FOX FILM TO LINDA DARNELL: Actress Is Named by Studio to Role in 'The Guy Who Sank the Navy,' Football Story Marton to Direct "Pedley" By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 26 Oct 1950: 38.
- "French Actress Has Major Role in Gish Picture" Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) 27 Feb 1927: C11.
- "'Damien the Leper' Purchased by RKO; Robert Sisk to Be the Producer — Joseph Calleia Has Been Assigned to Title Role". The New York Times. May 17, 1939. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- "Hollywood Buys 45 More Stories to Add to 1940 Feature Programs". Motion Picture Herald. 136 (1): 34. July 1, 1939. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- Farrow, John (1937). Damien the Leper. Camden, N.J.: Sheed and Ward. OCLC 8018072.
- "PAGEANT OF THE POPES", by John Farrow. Sheed & Ward. 394 pp. $4.50. The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] 12 Mar 1950: B6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Farrow.|
- John Farrow at the Internet Movie Database
- John Farrow at Find a Grave
- American Dictionary of Biography
- Complete text of The Story of Sir Thomas More
- An inventory of the John Villiers Farrow Papers at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives