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LeRoy J. Prinz Biography

  • Profession: Choreography
  • Born: Jul 14, 1895
  • Died: Sep 15, 1983

St. Joseph, MO, just wasn't exciting enough for young LeRoy Prinz; barely out of his teens, he ran away from home to join the French Foreign Legion. Here he learned the rudiments of aviation, which enabled him to join American ace Eddie Rickenbacker's squadron during World War I. How all this prepared him for a career as a dancer/choreographer is anyone's guess, but by the mid-'20s, Prinz was in Europe, staging production numbers for Paris' Folies Bergere and for Viennese impresario Max Reinhardt. He came to films as a dance director in 1929, working on such early-talkie musicals as [[Feature~V96594~Innocents of Paris~innocentsofparis]] (1929) and [[Feature~V30670~Madame Satan~madamesatan]] (1930); this latter film launched a long association with director Cecil B. DeMille. Working on some 200 films at various studios (he spent most of his time at Paramount and Warner Bros.), Prinz was nominated for three Academy awards. When he finally won an Oscar, it was for his direction of the uncharacteristically sentimental (and non-musical) Warners short subject A Boy and His Dog (1946). Prinz also produced and directed a brace of 45-minute "streamliners" for Hal Roach, [[Feature~V83446~All American Co-Ed~theallamerican]] (1941) and Fiesta (1941). In films until 1958, LeRoy Prinz was a highly original, fiercely independent talent, a man who was unafraid to tell anyone -- even Jack Warner himself -- what to do and where to go if it impeded his work. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi