Lowell Sherman

Active - 1914 - 1935  |   Born - Oct 11, 1885   |   Died - Dec 28, 1934   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Descended from an old and venerated acting family, Lowell Sherman toted up several impressive Broadway credits in the years prior to 1920. Matinee-idol handsome, Sherman enjoyed playing rakish society types, the sort who loved 'em and left 'em, but always with a touch of class. His first film role, in D.W. Griffith's Way Down East, was an extension of Sherman's caddish stage persona. In 1930, Sherman became a director as well as an actor, turning out such sophisticated sex farces as Bachelor Apartment (1931) and The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1933), in which double entendres and knowing glances were the order of the day. His most famous directorial effort was Mae West's box-office triumph She Done Him Wrong (1932). The only post-1931 film in which Sherman acted but did not direct was George Cukor's What Price Hollywood (1932). It is said that Sherman based his portrayal of an alcoholic show business has-been in this film on his own brother-in-law, John Barrymore (at the time, Sherman was married to Helene Costello, the sister of Barrymore's then-wife Dolores Costello). Lowell Sherman died in the last week of 1934, while directing the first three-strip Technicolor feature, Becky Sharp; according to his friend James Cagney, it was Sherman's addiction to cigarettes that did him in.

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