Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Walter Huston

Walter Huston was one of the most popular character actors of the 1930s and 1940s. In twenty one years, he appeared in more than fifty films.

Walter Huston was born Walter Houghston on April 6, 1884 in Toronto, Ontario.

He was the father of actor and director John Huston and the grandfather of actress Anjelica Huston. The Hustons became the first family to have three generations to win Academy Awards. The Coppolas have since also achieved this accomplishment.

Walter Huston was a vaudeville performer who had studied engineering. When his son John was born, he left vaudeville and became a fulltime engineer. However, Walter's acting skills were much better than his engineering skills and Walter returned to acting.

Walter Huston stayed busy throughout the late 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, both on stage and screen.

In 1924, Walter Huston made his Broadway debut in Mr. Pitt. Roles followed with Desire Under the Elms, Dodsworth, Othello and Knickerbocker Holiday (where he performed "September Song").

In 1929, Walter Huston made his film debut in Carnival Man. However, his big break was when he was cast opposite Gary Cooper in The Virginian (1929).

Roles followed in films such as Abraham Lincoln (1930), The Star Witness (1931), The Beast of the City (1932), Rain (1932), Gabriel Over the White House (1933), and The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933).

In 1936, Walter Huston was cast to play Sam Dodsworth in the film version of the hit broadway play Dodsworth (a role Huston originated on Broadway). This performance earned Walter Huston is first Academy Award nomination (Best Actor).

Following his Academy Award nomination, Walter Huston appeared in Of Human Hearts (1938), The Light That Failed (1939) and The Maltese Falcon (1941).

In 1941, Walter Huston was cast to play the Devil in the film The Devil and Daniel Webster. One of Walter Huston's best and most memorable performances earned him his second Academy Award nomination (Best Actor).

The following year, Walter Huston was cast to play Jerry Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). Walter Huston would earn his third Academy Award nomination (Best Supporting Actor).

Now in his late 50s, Walter Huston continued work steadily with roles in The North Star (1943), Mission to Moscow (1943), And Then There Were None (1945) and Duel in the Sun (1946).

In 1949, at the age of 65, Walter Huston won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance of Howard in The Treasure of the Sierre Madre (1948).

The Treasure of the Sierre Madre was one of Walter Huston's last films. He would appear in only three more films (his final being The Furies (1950)).

Walter Huston died on April 7, 1950 (one day after his 66th Birthday) from an aortic aneurysm.

Walter Huston has one Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures.

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