Lloyd Bacon

Active - 1915 - 2003  |   Born - Jan 16, 1890   |   Died - Nov 15, 1955   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance

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Biography by AllMovie

Born into an American theatrical family, Lloyd Bacon was the son of Frank Bacon, the actor who made the stage play Lightnin' virtually his life's work. Lloyd pursued the family business early in life, appearing in stock companies and touring shows, before entering films as a small-part player at Essanay Studios, where he worked with pioneer western star Broncho Billy Anderson. Another Essanay player, Charlie Chaplin, continued employing Lloyd as an actor and production assistant long after both had moved to other studios. Never comfortable as a performer, Bacon followed Chaplin's lead by becoming a director himself. His first directorial assignment was Private Izzy Murphy (1926), which starred Broadway entertainer George Jessel. The film inaugurated Bacon's long association with Warner Bros., where over the next two decades he would direct such notables as James Cagney, Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson John Barrymore, Joe E. Brown, Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan. Most of Bacon's assignments came his way not because he was uniquely talented but because he was quick and efficient; while many stars welcomed this businesslike approach, others were unhappy that the Bacon technique left no time to properly "develop" a performance or to experiment with new ideas. But since producers and not actors make the final decisions, and since producers like to have craftsmen around who save time and money, Bacon worked steadily throughout the 1940s and 1950s. After leaving Warners, the director spent some time at 20th Century-Fox, where he made one of his best films, It Happens Every Spring (1949). Slapstick comedy fans especially enjoy Bacon's collaborations with screenwriter Frank Tashlin at both Columbia and MGM, notably the Red Skelton vehicle The Good Humor Man (1950) and the baseball farce Kill the Umpire (1950). Just before his death, Lloyd Bacon directed a pair of Howard Hughes-produced comedies for RKO, The French Line (1954) and She Couldn't Say No (1954). The Bacon family tradition was carried on by Lloyd's younger brother, ubiquitous character actor Irving Bacon.

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