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Norman Taurog
Biographical Information

Sex:M
Age:82
Birth Date:February 23, 1899
Astrology Sign:Pisces
Chinese Sign: -
Birth Name:
Birth Place:
Died Date:April 7, 1981
Website:

Occupation:Film/TV Director

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NORMAN TAUROG
Norman Taurog

Biography:Norman Taurog Norman Taurog, (February 23, 1899 - April 7, 1981) was an American film director born in Chicago, Illinois. Between 1920 and 1968 he directed over 140 films. Taurog won the 1931 Oscar for Best Director for the film Skippy and still holds the record as the youngest director to win that award, 32. He was later nominated for Best Director for his 1938 film, Boys Town. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Norman Taurog has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1600 Vine Street.

It could be said that Norman Taurog had five chapters to his career. His first was a child performer on the stage from an early age, making his movie debut aged 13 in the short film Tangled Relations, produced by Thomas Ince’s studios. In the 8 years until his next screen credit he worked in theatre, mostly off-Broadway. By the time he re-entered the movies he had entered the second chapter, making the transition to director. He collaborated with Larry Semon in 1920’s The Sportsman. Taurog made 42 more films, mostly shorts, up until 1931; in this time he developed his style, his forte was light comedy though he could also deal with drama and maintain complex narratives.

In 1931 he made his breakthrough, directing Skippy, for which he won an Academy Award. Taurog's nephew Jackie Coogan won an Oscar for his performance; in his 1981 autobiography Please Don't Shoot My Dog Coogan wrote that during filming Taurog threatened to shoot his dog if the child actor could not cry for the scene. Skippy tells of the adventures of the eponymous hero, his antics and adventures with Sooky as they try to come up with a license for Sooky’s dog, prevent his shantytown from demolition, sell lemonade and save for a new bike. Based on a popular comic strip character, it’s sentiment, comedy and moral didacticism (common with movies of the time), added to a gritty realism made it a huge success. Skippy was so successful the studio immediately scheduled a sequel, Sooky, for the following year.

The next few years saw Taurog enter the third chapter of his career, as an established director who could work in a number of genres. He directed a series of well-received films: 1932's If I Had a Million showed his ability to work with an all-star cast, featuring Gary Cooper, George Raft, Charles Laughton and W.C. Fields; 1934 saw him helm We're Not Dressing, a lively Bing Crosby and Carole Lombard vehicle which also featured George Burns, Gracie Allen and Ray Milland; 1936's Rhythm on the Range; 1937's Fifty Races to Town and 1938s Mad About Music demonstrated the métier of comedy-drama and musicals in which Taurog was carving out a reputation.

1938 saw Taurog bring all his skill and experience to bear with one of the liveliest and most successful adaptations of classic literature; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was an artistic and commercial triumph. The year also brought the accomplished, and hard-hitting Boys Town, showing Taurog to be more than capable of sustaining a dramatic narrative and earning him another Academy Award nomination. It wasn't all success though, 1939's Lucky Night starring Myrna Loy and Robert Taylor was a turkey and Taurog shot test scenes for 1939's cinematic extravaganza The Wizard of Oz but Victor Fleming was chosen to direct. Taurog did, however, helm the last of MGM's big pre-war musical showcases, 1940's Broadway Melody, starring Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell. He expanded his range into biographies, working with Mickey Rooney again in the well-received Young Tom Edison in 1940 and also in the sequel to Boys Town, Men of Boys Town in 1941 and A Yank at Eton in 1942. In between he got a wonderful performance from Judy Garland in Little Nellie Kelly, who he also directed in 1943's 'small-town-girl-gets-big-break' Presenting Lily Mars and popular Rooney and Garland starrer When the Girls Meet the Boys.

After directing re-takes for a propaganda film during the war, Rationing in 1944, Taurog entered new territory with a docudrama of the atom bomb, The Beginning or the End in 1947. It was back to his metier of light comedy for his next couple of outings, The Bride Goes Wild with Van Johnson and June Allyson and Big City, both in 1948. Remarkably he also directed a third film that year combining the genres of comedy, drama and biography and dealing with an all-star cast; Words and Music was a fictionalised biopic of the relationship between Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. It starred, among others, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Mickey Rooney and Cyd Charisse. By now, Taurog had established a reputation as a director who was comfortable working in the musical and comedy genre, and who could be relied upon to work with slight material - qualities which would be useful later in his career. Following Words and Music Taurog directed Kathryn Grayson in That Midnight Kiss, 1949, Deborah Kerr in Please Believe Me, 1950 and Grayson again in The Toast of New Orleans, 1950. Each was undistinguished, if entertaining. Taurog was to direct three more films which could be said to match this description before the fourth chapter of his career, Mrs O'Malley and Mr Malone, 1950, Rich Young and Pretty, 1951 and Room for One More in 1952, starring Cary Grant.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis had been a double-act since 1946 and had made five films together, three Martin and Lewis top-liners, before 1952's Taurog-directed Jumping Jacks. It is regarded by many Martin and Lewis fans as the finest of their films and Taurog worked well with the double-act. In 1953 he directed them in The Stooge, 1953,

Achievements: (Filmography)
Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)
Boys Town (1938)

Personality and Character Cards:
Personality and character cards are identical!

Norman Taurog's Personality Tarot Card The Chariot - Personality Card

Birthday: February 23, 1899

A struggle or conflict, yet strong potential for triumph over adversity.


This year's Growth Tarot Card
Based on this year's birthday

Norman Taurog's Growth Tarot Card Justice

Birthday: February 23, 2011

Balance, wisdom and a need for rational, logical solutions.

 

 

 

Portions of famous people database was used with permission from Russell Grant from his book The Book of Birthdays Copyright © 1999, All rights reserved. Certain biographical material and photos licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, from Wikipedia, which is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

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