Happy 140th Birthday Victor Fleming

Today is the 140th birthday of the film director Victor Fleming. His film credits include two of the most popular films of all time, and a strong foundation of very wonderful films. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he is gone.

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NAME: Victor Fleming
DATE OF BIRTH: 23-Feb-1883
DATE OF DEATH: 6-Jan-1949
PLACE OF DEATH: Cottonwood, AZ
CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart Failure
REMAINS: Buried, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, CA
OSCAR for Best Director 1940 for Gone With the Wind

BEST KNOWN FOR: DescriptionVictor Lonzo Fleming was an American film director, cinematographer, and producer. His most popular films were The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director.

Victor Fleming was born at the Banbury Ranch near what is now La Cañada Flintridge, California, the son of Eva and William Richard Lonzo Fleming.

He served in the photographic section during World War I, and acted as chief photographer for President Woodrow Wilson in Versailles, France. He showed a mechanical aptitude early in life; while working as a car mechanic, he met the director Allan Dwan, who took him on as a camera assistant. He soon rose to the rank of cinematographer, working with both Dwan and D. W. Griffith, and directed his first film in 1919.

Many of his silent films were action movies, often starring Douglas Fairbanks, or Westerns. Because of his robust attitude and love of outdoor sports, he became known as a “man’s director”; however, he also proved an effective director of women. Under his direction, Vivien Leigh won the Best Actress Oscar, Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress, and Olivia De Havilland was nominated.

In 1932, Fleming joined MGM and directed some of the studio’s most prestigious films. Red Dust (1932), Bombshell (1933), and Reckless (1935) showcasing Jean Harlow, while Treasure Island (1934) and Captains Courageous (1937) brought a touch of literary distinction to boy’s-own adventure stories. His two most famous films came in 1939, when The Wizard of Oz was closely followed by Gone with the Wind.

Fleming’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), with Spencer Tracy, was generally rated below Rouben Mamoulian’s 1931 pre-code version, which had starred Fredric March. Fleming’s 1942 film version of John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat starred Tracy, John Garfield, Hedy Lamarr, and Frank Morgan. Other films that Fleming made with Tracy include Captains Courageous (for which Tracy won his first Oscar), A Guy Named Joe, and Test Pilot. He directed Clark Gable in a total of five films – Red Dust, The White Sister, Test Pilot, Gone with the Wind, and Adventure.

He owned the Moraga Estate in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, then a horse ranch. Frequent guests to his estate included Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, and Spencer Tracy.

He died suddenly, while en route to a hospital in Cottonwood, Arizona after suffering a heart attack on January 6, 1949. His death occurred shortly after completing Joan of Arc (1948) with Ingrid Bergman, one of the few films that he did not make for MGM. Despite mixed reviews, Fleming’s film version of the life of Joan received seven Oscar nominations, winning two.


The Half-Breed (1916)
When the Clouds Roll By (1919) (directorial debut)
The Mollycoddle (1920)
Mama’s Affair (1921)
Woman’s Place (1921)
The Lane That Had No Turning (1922)
Red Hot Romance (1922)
Anna Ascends (1922)
Dark Secrets (1923)
Law of the Lawless (1923)
To the Last Man (1923)
The Call of the Canyon (1923)
Empty Hands (1924)
Code of the Sea (1924)
Adventure (1925)
The Devil’s Cargo (1925)
A Son of His Father (1925)
Lord Jim (1925)
The Blind Goddess (1926)
Mantrap (1926)
The Way of All Flesh (1927)
Hula (1927)
The Rough Riders (1927)
The Awakening (1928)
Abie’s Irish Rose (1928)
Wolf Song (1929)
The Virginian (1929)
Common Clay (1930)
Renegades (1930)
Around the World in 80 Minutes with Douglas Fairbanks (1931)
The Wet Parade (1932)
Red Dust (1932)
The White Sister (1933)
Bombshell (1933)
Treasure Island (1934)
Reckless (1935)
The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935)
Captains Courageous (1937)
Test Pilot (1938)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
Tortilla Flat (1942)
A Guy Named Joe (1943)
Adventure (1945)
Joan of Arc (1948) (final film)

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