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Walter Pidgeon

Best known for How Green Was My Valley, Mrs Miniver, Forbidden Planet and as Florenz Ziegfeld in Funny Girl.

Filmography

1926      

Mannequin 

The Outsider 

Old Loves and New 

Miss Nobody 

Marriage License? 

 

1927      

Heart of Salome 

Sumuru 

The Thirteenth Juror 

The Gorilla 

 

1928      

The Gateway of the Moon 

Woman Wise 

Turn Back the Hours 

Clothes Make the Woman 

Melody of Love 

 

1929      

The Voice Within 

Her Private Life 

A Most Immoral Lady 

 

1930      

Bride of the Regiment 

Sweet Kitty Bellairs

The Gorilla 

Viennese Nights 

Going Wild 

 

1931      

Kiss Me Again 

The Hot Heiress

 

1932      

Rockabye

 

1933      

The Kiss Before the Mirror 

 

1934      

Journal of a Crime 

 

1936      

Big Brown Eyes 

Fatal Lady 

 

1937      

She’s Dangerous 

Girl Overboard 

As Good as Married 

Saratoga 

My Dear Miss Aldrich 

A Girl with Ideas 

 

1938      

Man-Proof 

The Girl of the Golden West 

The Shopworn Angel 

Too Hot to Handle 

Listen, Darling 

 

1939      

Society Lawyer 

6,000 Enemies 

Stronger Than Desire 

Nick Carter, Master Detective 

 

1940      

The House Across the Bay 

It’s a Date 

Dark Command 

Phantom Raiders

Sky Murder

Flight Command 

 

1941      

Man Hunt 

Blossoms in the Dust

How Green Was My Valley 

Design for Scandal 

 

1942      

Mrs. Miniver 

White Cargo

 

1943      

The Youngest Profession 

Madame Curie

 

1944      

Mrs. Parkington 

 

1945      

Week-End at the Waldorf 

 

1946      

Holiday in Mexico 

The Secret Heart 

 

1947      

Cass Timberlane 

If Winter Comes 

 

1948      

Julia Misbehaves 

Command Decision 

 

1949      

The Red Danube

That Forsyte Woman

 

1950      

The Miniver Story 

 

1951      

Soldiers Three 

Calling Bulldog Drummond

Quo Vadis 

The Unknown Man 

 

1952      

The Sellout 

Million Dollar Mermaid

The Bad and the Beautiful 

Scandal at Scourie 

 

1953      

Dream Wife 

 

1954      

Executive Suite 

Men of the Fighting Lady 

The Last Time I Saw Paris

Deep in My Heart 

 

1955      

Hit the Deck 

 

1956      

Forbidden Planet 

These Wilder Years

The Rack 

 

1961      

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 

 

1962      

Advise and Consent 

Big Red 

 

1963      

The Two Colonels 

Anniversary 

 

1965      

Cinderella

 

1967

Warning Shot

 

1968      

The Vatican Affair 

Funny Girl 

 

1969      

Rascal 

 

1972      

Skyjacked 

 

1973      

The Neptune Factor 

Harry in Your Pocket 

 

1976      

Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood 

 

1976      

Two-Minute Warning 

 

1978      

Sextette 

Awards

Walter Pidgeon was nominated for two Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Awards, Mrs. Miniver (1942), and Madame Curie (1943)

 

I was like a kept woman during my twenty-one years at MGM. ~ Walter Pidgeon

Walter Pidgeon was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He attended local schools and the University of New Brunswick, where he studied law and drama. His university education was interrupted by World War I, and he enlisted in the 65th Battery, Royal Canadian Field Artillery. He never saw action, however, as he was severely injured in an accident when he was crushed between two gun carriages and spent seventeen months in a military hospital. Following the war, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked as a bank runner, at the same time studying voice at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Discontented with banking, Pidgeon moved to New York City, where he walked into the office of E.E. Clive, announced that he could act and sing and could prove it. After acting on stage for several years, he made his Broadway debut in 1925. Pidgeon made a number of silent films in the 1920s. He became a huge star with the arrival of talkies, thanks to his singing voice. He starred in extravagant early Technicolor musicals, including The Bride of the Regiment (1930), Sweet Kitty Bellairs (1930), Viennese Nights (1930) and Kiss Me Again (1931). He became associated with musicals, and when the public grew weary of them his career began to falter.

Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Walter Pidgeon in Saratoga (1937)

Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Walter Pidgeon in Saratoga (1937)

In 1935 he took a break from Hollywood and did a stint on Broadway.  When he returned to movies, he was relegated to playing secondary roles in films like Saratoga and The Girl of the Golden West. One of his better known roles was in The Dark Command, where he portrayed the villain opposite John Wayne, Claire Trevor, and a young Roy Rogers.

It was not until he starred in the Academy Award-winning Best Picture How Green Was My Valley (1941) that his popularity returned. He then starred opposite Greer Garson in Blossoms in the Dust (1941), Mrs. Miniver (1942) (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor) and its sequel, The Miniver Story in 1950. He was also nominated in 1944 for Madame Curie, again opposite Garson. His partnership with her continued throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s with Mrs. Parkington (1944), Julia Misbehaves (1948), That Forsyte Woman (1949), and finally Scandal at Scourie (1953).

Walter Pidgeon and Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet (1956)

Walter Pidgeon and Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet (1956)

Although he continued to make films, including The Bad and the Beautiful and Forbidden Planet, Pidgeon returned to work on Broadway in the mid-1950s after a 20-year absence and ventured into television. He continued making films, playing Admiral Harriman Nelson in 1961’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, James Haggin in Walt Disney’s Big Red (1962), and the Senate Majority Leader in Otto Preminger’s Advise & Consent. His role as Florenz Ziegfeld in Funny Girl (1968) was well received. Later, he played Casey, James Coburn’s sidekick, in Harry in Your Pocket (1973).

Pidgeon became a United States citizen on December 24, 1943.

Pidgeon married twice. In 1919, he wed the former Edna Muriel Pickles, who died in 1921 during the birth of their daughter, also named Edna. In 1931, Pidgeon married his secretary, Ruth Walker, to whom he remained married until his death.

He died on September 25, 1984 in Santa Monica, California two days after his 87th birthday, following a series of strokes.

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