Fredric March (August 31, 1897 - April 14, 1975) was a two-time Academy Award-winning American actor.
Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel was born in Racine, Wisconsin. He began as a banker, but an emergency appendectomy caused him to reevaluate his life, and in 1920 he began to be cast as an extra in movies made in New York City, using a shortened form of his mother's maiden name, Marcher. He appeared on Broadway in 1926, and won an Oscar nomination in 1930 for The Royal Family of Broadway, in which he played a role based upon John Barrymore. March won the Oscar in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and again in 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives. In 1954, March hosted the 26th Annual Academy Awards.
March was one of the few actors to resist the studios, and was able to pick and choose his roles, in the process also avoiding typecasting. By this time, he was working on Broadway as often as in Hollywood, and his screen career was not as prolific as it had been. Perhaps his greatest late-in-life role was in Inherit the Wind (1960), opposite Spencer Tracy.
Throughout his life, he and his wife, actress Florence Eldridge, were proponents of liberal political causes. His support for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War would cause problems. He was a steady supporter of the Democratic Party.
When March underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 1972, it seemed his career was over, yet he managed to give one last great performance in The Iceman Cometh.
Ironically, co-star Robert Ryan was entering the final stages of lung cancer, so the film was shot on a deathwatch. March was considered among his peers to be the greatest film actor of them all and to have mastered the true technique of film acting.
Fredric March died in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 77 from cancer. He had been married to the actress Florence Eldridge from 1927 until his death; they had 2 adopted children.
Academy Awards and nominations 1952 Nominated Death of a Salesman 1947 Won The Best Years of Our Lives 1938 Nominated A Star Is Born 1932 Won Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1931 Nominated The Royal Family of Broadway
Preceded by: Lionel Barrymore for A Free Soul Academy Award for Best Actor 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde co-awardee with Wallace Beery Succeeded by: Charles Laughton for The Private Life of Henry VIII Preceded by: Ray Milland for The Lost Weekend Academy Award for Best Actor 1946 for The Best Years of Our Lives Succeeded by: Ronald Colman for A Double Life