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Walter Pidgeon Biography

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Walter Pidgeon

Birthdate:   23 Sept 1897
Website: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0682074/
Category: Movies

Handsome, dignified performer, most typically in intelligent, gentlemanly roles, in lead and supporting film parts from the late 1920s. Possessing an attractive singing voice which was almost never heard once he achieved stardom, Pidgeon performed quite creditably in a number of operettas of the early sound years, including such worthy entries in the cycle like "Sweet Kitty Bellairs", "Viennese Nights" (both 1930) and "Kiss Me Again" (1931). He later played smart city slickers, typically second leads who palled around with the hero or lost the woman to a bigger male star; entries here included "Big Brown Eyes" (1936), "Saratoga" (1937) and "Too Hot to Handle" (1938).

Pidgeon continued playing ever larger roles in films of increasing importance as the 30s progressed and finally made it to full-fledged star status in middle age at the beginning of the 40s. He is best known for his roles as the dashing would-be assassin of Hitler in Fritz Lang's spy adventure, "Man Hunt" (1941); Maureen O'Hara's suitor in John Ford's "How Green Was My Valley" (1941); and for his eight co-starring efforts opposite the genteel and dignified but spirited Greer Garson. The pair were a leading box-office attraction at MGM through the 40s, best known for the English WWII melodrama "Mrs. Miniver" (1942) and the biographical "Madame Curie" (1943).

Pidgeon continued to play leading roles through the 50s and kept busy in his later years in prominent supporting parts, often with star billing. He was especially memorable as the Prospero figure in "Forbidden Planet" (1956), the engaging sci-fi feature revamp of Shakespeare's "The Tempest", and was a standout among the remarkable cast peopling Otto Preminger's political drama, "Advise and Consent" (1962). Pidgeon also appeared as Florenz Ziegfeld in "Funny Girl" (1968) and continued in films with decreasing frequency through the 70s.

Pidgeon's TV credits date back to the mid-50s when he hosted the "M-G-M Parade" (ABC, 1955-56), a variety series that offered a behind-the-scenes look at the film studio. He was featured in several high-profile TV specials from the late 50s through the mid-60s, notably playing the King in the 1965 "Cinderella" starring Lesley Ann Warren. Pidgeon began appearing in TV-movies in the late 60s, generally in character roles, and continued to do so fairly regularly through the mid-70s.



Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award 1974

Venice Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting "Executive Suite" 1954


1978 Made final feature appearance in "Sextette"
1976 Last TV-movie, "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case"; portrayed the judge
1968 Portrayed Florenz Ziegfeld in the movie musical "Funny Girl"
1965 Played the King in the CBS TV remake of "Cinderella", with a score by Rodgers and Hammerstein
1962 Had role as the US Senate Majority Leader in "Advise and Consent"
1961 Cast as the submarine's admiral in "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"
1958 Starred as the father in "The Swiss Family Robinson", an NBC adventure special
1956 Appeared as Dr. Morbius in "Forbidden Planet"
1955 - 1956 Hosted MGM's first TV series, "M-G-M Parade", an ABC variety series
1954 Co-starred in the all-star production of "Executive Suite"
1953 Last of eight co-starring vehicles opposite Garson, "Scandal at Scourie"
1943 Starred as Pierre Curie to Garson's "Madame Curie"; received second Best Actor Academy Award nomination
1942 Earned first Best Actor Oscar nomination for his co-starring role opposite Garson in "Mrs. Miniver"
1941 Distinguished himself with starring roles in John Ford's "How Green Was My Valley" and Fritz Lang's "Man Hunt", both released in the same year
1941 First film starring opposite Greer Garson, "Blossoms in the Dust"
1930 First acting role in a musical talkie, where he used his baritone singing voice, "Viennese Nights"
1926 Feature acting debut in silent film, "Mannequin"
1925 Appeared in support of Janis on Broadway in "Puzzles of 1925"
1921 Toured with the Boston Light Opera Company; spotted by singer Elsie Janis who hired him
1916 Dropped out of college and enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery
After WWI, moved to Boston; worked nights in the mailroom of a brokerage firm
Appeared on Broadway in the musical "Take Me Along"
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Last updated: 16-09-07      Hits: 10617