Abby Berlin

Abby Berlin (August 7, 1907 — August 16, 1965) was best known as a director of feature films and television productions. He began on Broadway and Vaudeville as part of a comedy team with Ken Brown in the 1920s. By 1939 he had moved to Hollywood, where he worked as an assistant director, before getting his opportunity to helm his own films with 1945's Leave It to Blondie. He was married at least twice, his first wife, Jean, committed suicide after arguing with him; his second wife was B-movie actress Iris Meredith.

Abby Berlin
Born(1907-08-07)August 7, 1907
DiedAugust 16, 1965(1965-08-16) (aged 58)
OccupationDirector
Years active1928–65
Spouse(s)

Life and career

Berlin was born in New York City on August 7, 1907). By the late 1920s he had teamed up Ken Brown as a comedy song/dance duo, who performed on both Broadway and on the Vaudeville circuit.[1][2] The team had garnered the nickname the "Two Knights of Knonsense".[3][4]

In the 1930s he moved to Hollywood, and was working as an assistant director on films by the end of the decade, many of them in the Blondie franchise. His first film as 1939's Blondie Takes a Vacation. Over the next six years, he would assist on nineteen movies. Outside of the Blondie films, he would work on such notable productions as Go West, Young Lady (1941), City Without Men (1943), Sahara (1943), What a Woman! (1943), The Boy from Stalingrad (1943), The Impatient Years (1944), and 1945's A Song to Remember. In 1945 he was given the opportunity to helm his own picture, Leave It to Blondie. It was the first film after Columbia re-booted the series.[5] He directed a total of twelve feature films, nine of which were in the Blondie franchise. His other features included the romantic comedy, Father Is a Bachelor (1950 - which he co-directed with Norman Foster), which stars William Holden and Coleen Gray; and the 1950 crime drama, Double Deal.[6]

With the advent of television, Berlin moved to the small screen, where he directed on numerous series, including Blondie, Lassie, and The Ann Sothern Show. His direction of William Bendix in transforming the radio program to the small screen, was credited with making The Life of Riley a success.[7] In 1965 he would return to the big screen one last time, as an assistant director on The Great Sioux Massacre.[8] On August 19, 1965 Berlin died shortly after working on The Great Sioux Massacre, before it opened in September.[9]

Berlin was married at least twice. During the 1930s he married actress Jean Berlin. Just as he was beginning his directing career, in November 1939, the couple had an argument. Afterwards, Jean committed suicide by poisoning herself.[3] Later, in 1943, he married Iris Meredith, when the two eloped to Yuma, Arizona while he was working on Sahara.[10] The two remained married to until his death in 1965.

Filmography

(Per AFI database)[6]

References

  1. "Vaudeville Bill Has Varied Acts". The Montana Standard (Butte, Montana). April 7, 1929. p. 52. Retrieved October 29, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  2. "New Year Eve Fun Dated At Yost Broadway". Santa Ana Register. December 29, 1928. p. 21. Retrieved October 29, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  3. "Butte Says Good Vaudeville Show". The Independent Record (Helena, Montana). April 10, 1929. p. 3. Retrieved October 29, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  4. McLaughlin, Will (July 20, 1940). "'Twixt Stage and Screen". The Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Ontario). p. 21. Retrieved October 29, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  5. "Another 'Blondie' Film Coming Up". The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Indiana). March 16, 1946. p. 7. Retrieved October 29, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  6. "Abby Berlin Filmography". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-10-29. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  7. Johnson, Erskine (July 20, 1940). "Elizabeth Taylor Is Now Anxious To Get In Lens of Camera". Miami Daily News-Record (Miami, Oklahoma). p. 21. Retrieved October 29, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
  8. "The Great Sioux Massacre : Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-10-29. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  9. "Abby Berlin". Find a Grave. Archived from the original on 2016-10-29. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  10. Carroll, Harrison (February 19, 1943). "Behind the Scenes in Hollywood". The Wilkes-Barre Record (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania). p. 9. Retrieved October 29, 2016 via Newspapers.com.
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