Fred Guiol

Active - 1919 - 1956  |   Born - Jan 1, 1898   |   Died - May 23, 1964   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Launching his career as a prop boy for D.W. Griffith, Fred L. Guiol joined the Hal Roach studio in the same capacity in 1917. Guiol worked his way up to photographer and then director, forming a strong lifelong friendship with another Roach cameraman/director, George Stevens. Under the supervision of Roach's right-hand man Leo McCarey, Guiol directed several of Laurel & Hardy's earliest joint efforts, including Sugar Daddies, Do Detectives Think? and The Second Hundred Years (all 1927). He remained with Roach until the early-talkie era; when his friend George Stevens moved to RKO, Guiol went along. He wrote and directed a number of RKO short subjects until, at Stevens' urging, he was promoted to feature films. Guiol helmed three Wheeler and Woolsey features (The Rainmakers, Silly Billies, Mummy's Boys) which unfortunately ran over budget and emerged as the team's weakest efforts, thus ending Guiol's directorial career at RKO (he would later direct a handful of 45-minute "streamliners" for his old boss Hal Roach). After the Wheeler-Woolsey debacle, George Stevens came to Guiol's rescue, engaging his services as a screenwriter for Stevens' 1939 classic Gunga Din. Guiol continued his association with Stevens as associate producer of Penny Serenade (1941) and The More the Merrier (1943), producer of Talk of the Town (1944), and associate director of A Place in the Sun (1952) and Shane (1953). In 1956, Fred L. Guiol shared an Academy Award nomination for his scriptwork on Stevens' Giant.

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