Robert Wise (1914–2005)Director | Producer | Editor
Date of Birth 10 September 1914, Winchester, Indiana, USA
Date of Death 14 September 2005, Los Angeles, California, USA (heart failure)
Birth Name Robert Earl Wise
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)
Robert Earl Wise was born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana, the youngest of three sons of Olive R. (Longenecker) and Earl Waldo Wise, a meat packer. His parents were both of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent. At age nineteen, the avid moviegoer came into the film business through an odd job at RKO Radio Pictures. A head sound effects editor at the studio recognized Wise's talent, and made Wise his protégé. Around 1941, Orson Welles was in need of an editor for Citizen Kane (1941), and Wise did a splendid job. Welles really liked his work and ideas. Wise started as a director with some B-movies, and his career went on quickly, and he made many classic movies. His last theatrical film, Rooftops (1989), proved that he was a filmmaker still in full command of his craft in his 80s. The carefully composed images, tight editing, and unflagging pace make one wish that Wise had not stayed away from the camera for very long. Robert Wise died of heart failure on September, 14, 2005, just four days after his 91st birthday.
Millicent Wise (29 January 1977 - 14 September 2005) (his death)
Patricia Doyle (25 May 1942 - 22 September 1975) (her death) (1 child)
He was an avid fan of commercial Indian cinema.
From 1975-75 he was President of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), and later also headed the Special Projects Committee for 24 years.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945." Pages 1210-1219. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
Directed nine different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Nina Foch, Susan Hayward, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Julie Andrews, Peggy Wood, Steve McQueen, Mako and Daniel Massey. Hayward, Moreno and Chakiris won Oscars.
Accepted the Oscar for "Best Actor in a Leading Role" on behalf of Paul Newman, who was absent from the awards ceremony, for his performance in The Color of Money (1986) (1987).
Awarded honorary membership in the Society of Operating Cameramen (SOC) (1982).
He was the last surviving crew member of Citizen Kane (1941).
Celebrated his 91st birthday the weekend prior to his death (2005).
Received the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award (1998).
Agreed to direct The Sound of Music (1965) after it had been abandoned by William Wyler on the condition that 20th Century -ox agree to finance The Sand Pebbles (1966). Wise, who also produced the musical, won his second Best Director Oscar and the Best Picture Oscar. The next year, "The Sand Pebbles" was nominated for Best Picture and Wise was awarded the Irving Thalberg Award, the highest honor for producers.
He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington, D.C. (1992).
From 1985-88 he was President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
When he and Jerome Robbins won the Best Director Oscar in 1962 for West Side Story (1961), it was the first time that a directing Oscar was shared among collaborators.
Interviewed in "It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the SF and Horror Tradition" by Tom Weaver (McFarland, 1996).
Only four times in Academy Award history have director-collaborators been nominated for Best Directing Oscars: Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story (1961), Warren Beatty and Buck Henry for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men (2007). (Wise/Robbins and the Coens actually won the award). In 2011, The Coens were again nominated for a best directing-duo, for there western True Grit (2010).
He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture.
Profiled in "Conversations with Directors: An Anthology of Interviews from Literature/Film Quarterly", E.M. Walker, D.T. Johnson, eds. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008.
Interviewed in Tom Weaver's "It Came from Weaver Five" (McFarland & Co., 1996).
Retrospective at the 53rd San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain (2005).
In preparation for the scene in I Want to Live! (1958) in which Susan Hayward's character is executed, Wise attended a real execution.
Has a son, Robert E. Wise, and a stepdaughter, Pamela Rosenberg. Has one granddaughter.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 582-584. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
After collaborating closely and happily on the editing of Citizen Kane (1941) with Orson Welles, Wise was assigned to edit The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). When Welles left the country after finishing that film, RKO wanted Wise to edit it, making changes that Wise knew Welles wouldn't like. He initially refused because of his respect for Welles' vision of the film, but eventually relented and allowed RKO to put him in charge of a drastic editing of "Ambersons" that would result in a new ending and over 40 minutes of Welles' film being lost forever. A furious Welles held that against Wise for more than 40 years, until they reconciled publicly in 1984 by shaking hands on stage when the Directors Guild of America honored Welles with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6340 Hollywood Blvd. on February 8, 1960.
When his first assignment under his 20th Century-Fox contract was shelved, his first film under his new deal was a loan-out to Warner Brothers for Three Secrets (1950).
He was convinced to accept the position as director of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) by his wife Millicent Wise, who was a huge fan of Star Trek (1966). His wife was also instrumental in convincing him to campaign Leonard Nimoy for the project.
His favorite film is Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1923).
Co-founded, with Mark Robson, Aspen Pictures, a film production company,.
On March 30th 1987 he accepted the best actor in a leading role Oscar on Behalf of Paul Newman who was not present at the ceremony though he didn't get to give the acceptance speech Paul had given him to give because Barbara Stanwyck who had presented the award wouldn't get off stage.
He was fluent in French.
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