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 Adolphe Menjou

Filmography

1914      

The Acid Test 

The Man Behind the Door 

 

1913      

A Parisian Romance 

Nearly a King 

The Price of Happiness 

The Habit of Happiness

The Crucial Test 

The Devil at His Elbow

The Reward of Patience 

Manhattan Madness

The Scarlet Runner 

The Kiss 

The Blue Envelope Mystery 

 

1917      

The Valentine Girl 

The Moth 

 

1921      

Through the Back Door 

The Three Musketeers 

The Sheik 

 

1922      

Head Over Heels 

The Fast Mail 

Clarence 

Singed Wings 

 

1923      

The World’s Applause

Bella Donna 

A Woman of Paris 

 

1924      

The Marriage Circle 

Forbidden Paradise 

Shadows of Paris 

Open All Night 

The Fast Set

 

1925      

The King on Main Street

Are Parents People? 

 

1926      

A Social Celebrity 

The Ace of Cads 

The Sorrows of Satan 

 

1927      

Evening Clothes 

Serenade 

Service for Ladies 

A Gentleman of Paris 

 

1928      

His Private Life 

A Night of Mystery 

Marquis Preferred 

 

1930      

Mysterious Mr. Parkes 

Morocco 

 

1931      

The Easiest Way 

Men Call It Love 

The Front Page

Friends and Lovers 

 

1932      

Diamond Cut Diamond 

Prestige 

Forbidden 

Two White Arms 

A Farewell to Arms 

 

1933      

Morning Glory

Convention City 

Wife Beware 

 

1934      

Easy to Love 

The Trumpet Blows

Little Miss Marker 

Journal of a Crime

The Mighty Barnum 

 

1935      

Gold Diggers of 1935 

Broadway Gondolier 

 

1936      

The Milky Way 

 

1937      

A Star Is Born 

Café Metropole

One Hundred Men and a Girl 

Stage Door

 

1938      

The Goldwyn Follies

Letter of Introduction 

Thanks for Everything

 

1939      

King of the Turf 

Golden Boy 

The Housekeeper’s Daughter 

That’s Right

 

1940      

Turnabout 

A Bill of Divorcement 

 

1941      

Road Show 

Father Takes a Wife 

 

1942      

Roxie Hart 

Syncopation 

You Were Never Lovelier 

 

1943      

Hi Diddle Diddle 

Sweet Rosie O’Grady 

 

1944      

Step Lively 

 

1945      

Man Alive

 

1946      

Heartbeat 

The Bachelor’s Daughters 

 

1947      

I’ll Be Yours 

Mr. District Attorney 

The Hucksters 

 

1948      

State of the Union 

 

1949      

My Dream Is Yours

Dancing in the Dark 

 

1950      

To Please a Lady 

 

1951      

The Tall Target

Across the Wide Missouri

 

1952      

The Sniper

 

1953      

Man on a Tightrope 

 

1955      

Timberjack 

 

1956      

The Ambassador’s Daughter 

 

1956      

Bundle of Joy 

 

1957      

The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown 

Paths of Glory 

 

1958      

I Married a Woman 

 

1960      

Pollyanna 

Awards

Adolphe Menjou was nominated for one Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award for The Front Page (1931)

It was my mustache that landed jobs for me. In those silent-film days it was the mark of a villain. When I realized they had me pegged as a foreign nobleman type I began to live the part, too. I bought a pair of white spats, an ascot tie and a walking stick. ~ Adolphe Menjou

Adolphe Menjou: Learn more about him, review his filmography and more

Actors, Biographies

Adolphe Jean Menjou was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 18, 1890, to a French father, Albert Menjou (1858-1917), and an Irish mother, Nora (née Joyce) (1869-1953). He had a brother named Henry Arthur Menjou (1891-1956) who was a year younger. He was raised Roman Catholic, attended the Culver Military Academy, and graduated from Cornell University with a degree in engineering. Attracted to the vaudeville stage, he made his movie debut in 1916 in The Blue Envelope Mystery. He was primed as a matinée idol back in the silent-film days. With hooded, slightly owlish eyes, a prominent nose and prematurely receding hairline, he was hardly competition for Rudolph Valentino, but he did possess the requisite demeanor to confidently pull off a roguish and magnetic man-about-town.

 During World War I, he served as a captain in the United States Army ambulance service. He trained in Pennsylvania before going overseas.

Nothing of major significance happened for the fledgling actor until 1921, an absolute banner year for him. After six years of struggle he finally broke into the top ranks with substantial roles in The Faith Healer (1921) and Through the Back Door (1921), the latter starring Mary Pickford. He formed some very strong connections as a result and earned a Paramount contract in the process. Cast by Mary’s then-husband Douglas Fairbanks as Louis XIII in the rousing silent The Three Musketeers (1921), he finished off the year portraying the influential writer/friend Raoul de Saint Hubert in Rudolph Valentino’s classic The Sheik (1921).

Firmly entrenched in the Hollywood lifestyle, it took little time for Menjou to establish his slick prototype as the urbane ladies’ man and wealthy roué. Paramount, noticing how Menjou stole scenes from Charles Chaplin favorite Edna Purviance in Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923), started capitalizing on Menjou’s playboy image by casting him as various callous and creaseless matinée leads in such films as Broadway After Dark (1924), Sinners in Silk (1924), The Ace of Cads (1926), A Social Celebrity (1926) and A Gentleman of Paris (1927).

The stock market crash in 1929 led to the termination of Adolphe’s Paramount contract, and his status as leading man ended with it. MGM took him on at half his Paramount salary and his fluency in such languages as French and Spanish kept him employed at the beginning. Rivaling Gary Cooper for the attentions of Marlene Dietrich in Morocco (1930) started the ball rolling for Menjou as a dressy second lead. Rarely placed in leads following this period, he managed his one and only Oscar nomination for “Best Actor” with his performance as editor Walter Burns in The Front Page (1931). Not initially cast in the role, he replaced Louis Wolheim, who died ten days into rehearsal. Quality parts in quality pictures became the norm for Adolphe during the 1930s, with outstanding roles given him in The Great Lover (1931), A Farewell to Arms (1932), Forbidden (1932), Little Miss Marker (1934), Morning Glory (1933), A Star Is Born (1937), Stage Door (1937) and Golden Boy (1939).

The 1940s were not as golden, however. In addition to entertaining the troops overseas and making assorted broadcasts in a host of different languages, he did manage to get the slick and slimy Billy Flynn lawyer role opposite Ginger Rogers‘ felon in the “Chicago” adaptation Roxie Hart (1942), and continued to earn occasional distinction in such post-WWII pictures as The Hucksters (1947) and State of the Union (1948). His last lead was in the crackerjack thriller The Sniper (1952), in which he played an urbane San Francisco homicide detective tracking down a killer who preys on women in San Francisco, and he appeared without his mustache for the first time in nearly two decades. Also active on radio and TV, his last notable film was the anti-war picture Paths of Glory (1957) playing the villainous Gen. Broulard.

Adolphe’s extreme hardcore right-wing Republican politics hurt his later reputation, as he was made a scapegoat for his cooperation as a “friendly witness” at the House Un-American Activities Commission hearing during the Joseph McCarthy Red Scare era. Following his last picture, Disney’s Pollyanna (1960), in which he played an uncharacteristically rumpled curmudgeon who is charmed by Hayley Mills, he retired from acting. He died with hepatitis on October 29, 1963,

Menjou was married to Verree Teasdale from 1934 until his death on October 29, 1963, and had one adopted son. He was previously married to Kathryn Carver in 1928. They divorced in 1934. A prior marriage to Kathryn Conn Tinsley also ended in divorce.

After a nine-month battle with hepatitis, Menjou died on October 29, 1963, in Beverly Hills, California. He is interred next to Verree at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.