Arthur Pierson

Active - 1932 - 1955  |   Born - Jun 16, 1901   |   Died - Jan 1, 1975   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Crime, Musical, Romance

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Although handsome enough, Norwegian-born, Seattle-raised Arthur Pierson never made much of an impact as a Hollywood second lead, often playing rather stuffy young gents and losing the girl to higher billed male stars. A stock company juvenile, Pierson had made his Broadway debut in Remote Control in 1929. Hollywood was the next logical step and Pierson signed with Paramount, who mainly used him as a rehearsal director for the likes of Cecil B. De Mille and Ernst Lubitsch. Fox offered Pierson a couple of nondescript roles in 1932 and he was a slightly wooden Lorenzo in Hal Roach's The Devil's Brother (1933), his perhaps best-known film today. Returning to Broadway in 1935, Pierson co-starred with Ruth Matteson in Ayn Rand's The Night of January 16th, marrying Matteson while on tour with the show in 1937. Back in New York, he played Othello with Walter Huston and was Demitrius in Max Reignhardt's famous production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He next turned to directing with a couple of mildly popular farces and worked on the book for the Alan Jay Lerner-Frederick Loewe musical What's Up. It was a rather checkered career and no one was surprised when Pierson was back in Hollywood directing former Bowery Boy Billy Halop in something called Dangerous Years (1947). Marilyn Monroe had a bit part but Pierson was on rather more solid ground with the Douglas Fairbanks Jr. inexpensive but fun swashbuckler The Fighting O'Flynn (1947). Television was next and the now veteran actor/director went on to helm episodes of such shows as Terry of the Pirates and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. He was an executive with cartoon factory Hanna-Barbera when he died from a heart attack in January of 1975.

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