John Houseman (September 22, 1902 - October 31, 1988) was a Romanian-born actor and film producer.
He was born Jacques Haussmann in Bucharest to a French-born Jewish father and an English mother.
Emigrating to the United States, he took the stage name of John Houseman. He is best known for his Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning role as Professor Charles Kingsfield in the 1973 film The Paper Chase, a role which he reprised in the television series of the same name.
Amongst the more than two dozen films he produced, Houseman produced the 1946 film noir, The Blue Dahlia. He also co-produced Orson Welles's infamous 1938 radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. He and Welles cofounded the Mercury Theatre.
He was the Executive Producer of CBS's landmark Seven Lively Arts series. Houseman also played Energy Corporation Executive Bartholomew in the 1975 film Rollerball and parodied Sydney Greenstreet in the 1978 Neil Simon film, The Cheap Detective.
In the 1980s, Houseman was also known for his role as grandfather Edward Stratton II in Silver Spoons, which starred Rick Schroder, and for his commercials for brokerage Smith Barney, which featured the catchphrase, "They make money the old fashioned way...they earn it."
He also made a guest appearance in John Carpenter's 1980 movie The Fog as the ghost. He played the Jewish professor Aaron Jastrow in the 1983 miniseries The Winds of War.
Houseman taught acting at the Juilliard School of Fine Arts where his first graduating class included future stars Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone. Unwilling to see his first class immediately disbanded by the testing world of stage and screen, he formed them into a touring repertory company appropriately named the Group 1 Acting Company. They later shortened their name simply to The Acting Company and are still touring the country today.
John Houseman lost his battle with spinal cancer in 1988 at his home in Malibu, California. He was 86 years old. He had appeared in The Naked Gun, which was released after his death.
Preceded by: Joel Grey for Cabaret Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor 1973 for The Paper Chase Succeeded by: Robert De Niro for The Godfather Part II