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Mark Sandrich

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Mark Sandrich
Mark Rex Goldstein

(1900-10-26)October 26, 1900
New York City, U.S.
DiedMarch 4, 1945(1945-03-04) (aged 44)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeHome of Peace Cemetery
Occupation(s)Director, producer, screenwriter
Years active1927–1945
SpouseFreda W.
Children2, including Jay
RelativesRuth Harriet Louise (sister)
Carmel Myers (cousin)

Mark Sandrich (born Mark Rex Goldstein; October 26, 1900 – March 4, 1945) was an American film director, writer, and producer.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sandrich was born in New York City on October 26, 1900[2] into a Jewish family. His sister was Ruth Harriet Louise.

He was an engineering student at Columbia University when he accidentally fell into the film business. While visiting a friend on a film set, he saw that the director had a problem setting up a shot; Sandrich offered his advice, and it worked. He entered the movie business in the prop department.[3]


Shorts director[edit]

Sandrich became a director in 1927, making comedy shorts. His first feature was Runaway Girls, in 1928. In an exciting time in the film business with the arrival of sound, he briefly returned to shorts. In 1933, he directed the Academy Award-winning short So This Is Harris!.

Feature films[edit]

Sandrich returned to directing features with Melody Cruise (1933). He followed it with Cupid in the Rough (1933) and two starring the team of Wheeler & Woolsey, Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1933) and Cockeyed Cavaliers (1934).

Astaire and Rogers[edit]

Sandrich did some uncredited second unit work with Flying Down to Rio (1933), a musical featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. In 1934, Sandrich was given the job of directing the first proper Astaire–Rogers musical, The Gay Divorcee, which proved a tremendous success.

The following year, he directed Top Hat (1935), another Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musical.[1] He continued working with the team on Follow the Fleet (1936).[4]

After directing Katharine Hepburn in A Woman Rebels (1936) he returned to Astaire and Rogers for Shall We Dance (1937), and Carefree (1938).


In 1939, Sandrich left RKO for Paramount, which offered him a chance to be not only a director, but a producer as well.

Sandrich's first film for Paramount was just as director: the Jack Benny vehicle Man About Town (1939).[5] He then turned producer as well as director and made two more with Benny, Buck Benny Rides Again (1940) and Love Thy Neighbor (1940). He also did the romantic comedy Skylark (1941), starring Claudette Colbert and Ray Milland.

While all of these films made profits for the studio, Holiday Inn (1942), starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, with music by Irving Berlin, is most remembered today. Holiday Inn introduced the song "White Christmas" performed by Crosby. "White Christmas" remains the best-selling single of all time.[6]

Sandrich also produced and directed a dramatic war film, So Proudly We Hail! , a 1943 box-office success that starred Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard, and Veronica Lake. It was extremely popular and featured a pair of performers – Adrian Booth (billed as "Lorna Gray" in this picture) and George Reeves – whom Sandrich had intended to bring to stardom after the war.[7] Sandrich's last completed films also were war-related -- I Love a Soldier (1944) and Here Come the Waves (1944), both with Sonny Tufts.

Personal life and death[edit]

His sons, Mark Sandrich Jr. and Jay Sandrich, went on to careers as directors in film and television.

Mark Sandrich supported Thomas Dewey in the 1944 United States presidential election.[8]

In 1945, he was in pre-production on a follow-up to Holiday Inn called Blue Skies, starring Bing Crosby and featuring Irving Berlin's music. At the same time, Sandrich was serving as president of the Directors Guild.

Insisting that he could complete all of his assignments, and feeling pressure to be an involved and loving family man, Sandrich died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 44.[9] At the time of his death, Sandrich was considered to be one of the most trusted and influential directors in Hollywood. His interment was at Home of Peace Cemetery.

Select credits[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sennwald, Andre (August 10, 1935). "Top Hat (1935)". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Mark Sandrich | American director". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  3. ^ "Funeral set today for Mark Sandrich" (March 6, 1945). Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ "Young director makes good in musical comedy" (May 1, 1936). The China Press
  5. ^ "Mark Sandrich signs writers" (September 4, 1939). Los Angeles Times
  6. ^ "Producer-director hears critics praise his picture" (July 1, 1942). The Washington Post
  7. ^ By, T. S. (September 12, 1943). "HEROINES WITHOUT MASCARA" The New York Times
  8. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. (October 21, 2013). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. ISBN 978-1-107-65028-2.
  9. ^ "Mark Sandrich dies suddenly" (March 5, 1945). Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]