Hollywood Remains to Be Seen

Victor Fleming
1889 - 1949

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Director Victor Fleming began working under the guidance of D. W. Griffith, and later directed such classics as "Bombshell" (1933), "Treasure Island" (1934), "Captains Courageous" (1937), "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) and "Gone With the Wind" (1939), for which he won the Academy Award as Best Director.

Fleming worked as an automobile mechanic and photographer before he entered the film business in 1910, as an assistant cameraman. As an assistant to Griffith, Fleming worked on several films starring Douglas Fairbanks, including "When the Clouds Roll By" (1919), which was Fleming's directorial debut. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s at MGM studios, Fleming gained a reputation as a dependable and capable craftsman who could get the best performances from his actors, but he was not known as a great or even a particularly creative director. That type of workman-like reputation was encouraged and rewarded at the studio that discouraged individuality among its directors, and where the slogan was, "The only star at MGM is Leo the Lion."

The MGM management style at the time even included interchangeability of directors. If a particular director was unavailable for re-takes or additional scenes for his film, another equally capable director would be used. For this reason, even though Fleming was give the Academy Award for "Gone With The Wind," so many other people were involved with this massive project that it's difficult to determine exactly what impact he had on the production, or the final product.

But, nevertheless, Fleming's body of work includes many stellar productions among his nearly 50 films, including "Red Dust" (1932), "The Good Earth" (1937), "Test Pilot" (1938) and "A Guy Named Joe" (1943).

Fleming was born Feb. 23, 1889 (some sources say 1883), in Pasadena, CA. He died Jan. 6. 1949, in Flagstaff, AZ.

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