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  • A View from the Bridge

  • Rhapsody in Blue

  • Our Vines Have Tender Grapes

  • The Life of Emile Zola

  • Thieves' Highway

  • Dishonored Lady

  • Gun Crazy

  • Cyrano De Bergerac

  • The Second Woman

  • Dead Reckoning

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Morris Carnovsky Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Sep 5, 1898
  • Died: Sep 1, 1992

The son of a St. Louis grocer, Morris Carnovsky was briefly associated with the Yiddish Theatre before attending Washington University. Carnovsky spent his earliest professional years in the Henry Jewitt and E. E. Clive stock companies, and also worked at the legendary Provincetown Playhouse. In 1931, he was among the charter members of the Group Theatre, remaining with that organization for nearly a decade. Carnovsky's work in Awake and Sing (1936) and Golden Boy (1938) helped solidify the reputation of the Group's foremost playwright, Clifford Odets. During his tenure with the Group, Carnovsky took time out to appear in the Theatre Guild's Pulitzer Prize-winning Men In White(1933); he also made his first film appearance, playing Anatole France in the 1937 Oscar-winner The Life of Emile Zola. A Hollywood resident from 1940, Carnovsky was intimately involved with the Actor's Laboratory, a progressive theatrical group made up of film actors dissatisfied with the roles assigned them by the big studios. His own film assignments during the 1940s included the misguided Norwegian idealist Edge of Darkness (1943), Papa Gershwin in Rhapsody in Blue (1945) and the erudite villain ("I do so implore the use of physical violence") in the 1947 Bogart vehicle Dead Reckoning. In 1950, Carnovsky was blacklisted from films because of his refusal to "name names" before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. He was rescued professionally by theatrical producer John Houseman, who saw to it that Carnovsky was cast in a New York stage production of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People--in which, significantly, he played a character whose refusal to compromise his ideals resulted in persecution and exile. Carnovsky's most significant stage credits during the 1950s and 1960s included The World of Sholom Aleichem and the Shakespearean roles of King Lear and Shylock. He appeared in only three films between 1962 and 1983: A View from the Bridge (1962), The Gambler (1974), and the Spike Lee short subject Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads. He continued to prefer the aesthetic pleasures of live stage performances, often appearing with his second wife, actress Phoebe Brand. In contrast with many of his contemporaries, Morris Carnovsky became less rigid and more open to artistic experimentation with each passing year. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi