King Vidor (February 8, 1894 - November 1, 1982) was an American film director.
He was born in Galveston, Texas, where he survived the great Galveston Hurricane of 1900.
A freelance newsreel cameraman and cinema projectionist, he made his debut as a director in 1913 with Hurricane in Galveston. In Hollywood from 1915, he worked on a variety of film-related jobs before directing a feature film, The Turn of the Road in 1919. A successful mounting of Peg o' My Heart in 1922 got him a long term contract with MGM.Three years later he made The Big Parade, among the most acclaimed war-films of the silent era, and a tremendous commercial success. In 1928 Vidor received his first Oscar nomination for The Crowd, widely regarded as his masterpiece and one of the greatest American silent films. In all he was nominated five times for an Oscar but he never won in direct competition; he received an honorary award in 1979. Vidor's career extended well in to the sound era and he continued making feature films until the late 50's. Some of his better known sound films include Stella Dallas, Northwest Passage, The Citadel, Duel in the Sun, The Fountainhead, and War and Peace. He stepped in and directed the black and white sequences in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz (including the "Over the Rainbow" sequence) when director Victor Fleming was pulled into Gone with the Wind, but never received screen credit.
In 1967, Vidor researched the unsolved 1922 murder of fellow director William Desmond Taylor for a possible screenplay. Vidor never published or wrote of this research in his lifetime, but biographer Sidney Kirkpatrick posthumously examined Vidor's research and concluded in his 1986 book "Cast of Killers" that Vidor did indeed solve the sensational crime, but kept his conclusions private to protect individuals still living at the time. Kirkpatrick's book remains controversial with students of the crime, but the conclusions have not been refuted.
Vidor entered in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest career as a film director: beginning in 1913 with Hurricane in Galveston and ending in 1980 with a documentary called The Metaphor.
He was married three times:
Florence Arto (1917-1924); one daughter Suzanne (born 1919) Eleanor Boardman (1926-1931); two daughters Antonia (born 1927) Belinda (born 1930) Elizabeth Hill (1932-1982)