Date of Birth:
15 December 1907, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death:
29 September 1993, Los Angeles, California, USA (cancer)
Starting out as a child actor, Gordon Douglas was eventually hired by Hal Roach as a gag writer. His first directorial assignments were for Roach's "Our Gang" series. Graduating to features, Douglas stayed with comedies, directing Oliver Hardy in Zenobia (1939) and both Hardy and Stan Laurel in Saps at Sea (1940). Douglas left Roach for RKO, for which he directed about a dozen films from 1942 to 1947, mostly routine programmers. He then went to Columbia for several years, but in 1950 he headed over to Warner Brothers, where he would stay for the next 15 years and where he would find his greatest successes. His westerns and crime dramas for Warners met with critical and financial success, and it was during this period that he made what is considered one of the classic sci-fi films of the era: Them! (1954). Although he had his share of clunkers, and has at times expressed dissatisfaction with his career (he once said, "Don't try to watch all the films I've directed; it would turn you off movies forever"), he was responsible for some of the more enjoyable films of the 1950s and 1960s. One of his most successful films was also one of Frank Sinatra's best - The Detective (1968), a tough, gritty and controversial (for the time) crime drama about a homicide cop who gets involved in a murder case involving wealthy and powerful homosexual men.