|Born||Samuel Grosvenor Wood
July 10, 1884
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||September 22, 1949
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Occupation||Film director, writer, producer, actor, real estate broker|
|Spouse(s)||Clara L. Roush (1908-1949) (his death)|
Samuel Grosvenor "Sam" Wood (July 10, 1883 – September 22, 1949) was an American film director, and producer, who was best known for directing such Hollywood hits as A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, and The Pride of the Yankees. He was also involved in a few acting and writing projects.
Wood began his career as an actor, and worked for Cecil B. De Mille as an assistant in 1915. A solo director by 1919, Wood worked throughout the 1920s directing some of Paramount Pictures's biggest stars, among them Gloria Swanson and Wallace Reid. He joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1927, working with Marion Davies, Clark Gable, Marie Dressler, and Jimmy Durante. In the 1940s, Wood directed Ginger Rogers through her Oscar-winning performance in Kitty Foyle (1940).
At one point, he served as president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals.
Wood was married to Clara L. Roush from 1908 to his death in 1949. One of Wood's daughters was film and television actress K.T. Stevens who started her career in one of her father's films, Peck's Bad Boy (1921), credited as 'Baby Gloria Wood'. His oldest daughter was also an actress, Jeane Wood.
Criticism and legacy
Wood was a conservative in politics. He testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. Groucho Marx, who worked with Wood on A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races and a staunch liberal, once called Wood a "fascist" and was furious about Wood's racist comments about African-Americans.
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Groucho's appearance in 1972 at Carnegie Hall with Dick Cavett, Cavett related on NPR's All Things Considered (May 6, 2012) that Groucho was not a fan of Sam Wood. Allegedly, Wood in frustration said to Groucho, "You can't make an actor out of clay", to which Groucho replied with his lightning wit, " ... and you can't make a director out of Wood!"
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Wood has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 4296 Hollywood Boulevard.
With Academy Award nominations and wins in the table
- Double Speed (1920)
- Excuse My Dust (1920)
- The Dancin' Fool (1920)
- Sick Abed (1920)
- What's Your Hurry? (1920)
- A City Sparrow (1920)
- Her Beloved Villain (1920)
- Her First Elopement (1920)
- The Snob (1921)
- Peck's Bad Boy (1921)
- The Great Moment (1921)
- Under the Lash (1921)
- Don't Tell Everything (1921)
- Her Husband's Trademark (1922)
- Her Gilded Cage (1922)
- Beyond the Rocks (1922)
- The Impossible Mrs. Bellew (1922)
- My American Wife (1922)
- Prodigal Daughters (1923)
- Bluebeard's 8th Wife (1923)
- His Children's Children (1923)
- The Next Corner (1924)
- Bluff (1924)
- The Female (1924)
- The Mine with the Iron Door (1924)
- The Re-Creation of Brian Kent (1925)
- Fascinating Youth (1926)
- One Minute to Play (1926)
- Rookies (1927 film) (1927)
- A Racing Romeo (1927)
- The Fair Co-Ed (1927)
- The Latest from Paris (1928)
- Telling the World (1928)
- So This Is College (1929)
- It's a Great Life (1929)
- "Biography for Sam Wood". tcm.com. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- "Sam Wood Biography- Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide". moviefone.com. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
- "Sam Wood Biography". Barnes & Noble.com by Hal Erickson. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- Joseph Mills, "The Faces of Twentieth Century Comedy" in A Century of the Marx Brothers (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007)