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Michael Curtiz, Director of "Casablanca," Dead at 72

Apr. 11, 1962 - Michael Curtiz, Academy-award-winning motion picture director, died of cancer last night. He was 72 years old. Mr. Curtiz, who won an Oscar for directing “Casablanca” in 1943, had been a distinguished director in Europe before he came to this country in 1927. He was with Warner Brothers studio for more than 20 years, directing 74 pictures for that studio alone. Mr. Curtiz was one of Hollywood’s most successful directors, a perfectionist who was familiar with every aspect of filmmaking. He drove himself and his actors hard. There is a story that when John Barrymore was watching marathon dancers, another actor said to him: “Those poor devils. How can they stand it?” “That is nothing,” Mr. Barrymore replied. “Have you ever worked for Mike Curtiz?” In his long career, Mr. Curtiz was credited with having discovered many actors. Among his most successful “finds” were Doris Day, John Garfield, Errol Flynn, and Danny Thomas. Describing his philosophy of filmmaking, Mr. Curtiz once remarked, “I put all the art into my pictures that I think the audience can stand.” In the U.S., his best-known pictures besides “Casablanca” were “Captain Blood,” “Charge of the Light Brigade,” “Angels With Dirty Faces,” “Life With Father,” and “Mildred Pierce.”

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