Michael Curtiz was born December 24th 1886 in Budapest Austria. Tyrannical, and extremely talented, Michael Curtiz was one of Hollywood's most prolific and colorful directors. Born to a well-to-do Jewish family in Budapest, Curtiz ran away from home to join a circus at 17, and then trained for an acting career at the Royal Academy for Theater and Art.
When the Hungarian film industry was nationalized by the new communist government in 1919, Michael packed his bags and headed for Sweden, France, Germany, and Austria. He directed 21 European pictures in seven-years, including Sodom and Gomorrah.
Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner Bros. and became thoroughly entrenched in the studio system. His films during the 30s and 40s encompassed nearly every genre imaginable and some, including Casablanca in 1942 and Mildred Pierce 1945, are considered to be film classics. Most leading actors despised the dictatorial filmmaker, but were willing to work with him time and again due to his uncanny knack for turning out top-notch movies.
His career declined in the 1950s when he made a number of mediocre films for studios other than Warner.
He directed his last film in 1961, a year before his death at 74 of cancer.
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