Sam Wood Biography
Sam Wood nicknamed for Samuel Grosvenor Wood was an American film director and producer for his entire life time profession. At the time of his career, he was best known for his direction in many Hollywood hits of all time as like, A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, and The Pride of the Yankees. Apart from his directing profession, he was also involved in a few acting and writing projects.
Samuel was born on July 10, 1884 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Before he became an efficient director, he used to work on pipelines for an oil company. During his lifetime, apart from his major profession, he was also a real estate broker, actor and author. Wood was a conservative in politics. Late in his life, he served as the President of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a right-wing political organization whose aim was to ferret out "subversives" in Hollywood. By this power, he had provided key testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. His career began as an actor and worked for Cecil B. De Mille as an assistant in 1915. A solo director by 1919, Wood worked throughout the 1920s directing some of Paramount Pictures's biggest stars, among them Gloria Swanson and Wallace Reid. He joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1927, working with Marion Davies, Clark Gable, Marie Dressler, and Jimmy Durante. In the 1940s, Wood directed Ginger Rogers through her Oscar-winning performance in Kitty Foyle (1940).
At one point, he served as president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. It is said that after a two-year apprenticeship under Cecil B. DeMille as assistant director, Samuel Grosvenor Wood had the good fortune to have assigned to him two of the biggest stars at Paramount during their heyday: Wallace Reid, between 1919 and 1920; and Gloria Swanson, from 1921 to 1923. By the time his seven-year contract with Paramount expired, the former real estate dealer had established himself as one of Hollywood's most reliable feature directors. Not bad for a former real estate broker and small-time theatrical thesp.
In 1927, Wood joined MGM and remained under contract there until 1939, very much in sync with the studio's prevalent style of production. He reliably turned out between two and three films a year, of which the majority were routine productions. Most of his films in the 1920's were routine fare, and it was not until he directed two gems of The Marx Brothers, A Night at the Opera (1935) and A Day at the Races (1937) that his career picked up again.
Regardless of his personality, or his habitually shooting scenes twenty times over, Wood turned out some very powerful dramatic films during the last ten years of his life, beginning with Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). This popular melodrama earned him his first Academy Award nomination. At RKO, he coaxed an Oscar-winning performance out of Ginger Rogers (and was again nominated himself) for Kitty Foyle (1940). Ronald Reagan gave, arguably, his best performance in Kings Row (1942) under Wood's direction. His most expensive (and longest, at 170 minutes) assignment took him back to Paramount. This was Ernest Hemingway's Spanish Civil War drama For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), bought for $150,000, with De Mille originally slated as director. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Wood has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 4296 Hollywood Boulevard.
Wood was married to Clara L. Roush from 1908 to his death in 1949. One of Wood's daughters was film and television actress K.T. Stevens who started her career in one of her father's films, Peck's Bad Boy (1921), credited as 'Baby Gloria Wood'. His oldest daughter was also an actress, Jeane Wood. Wood died from a heart attack, in Hollywood, at the age of 65. His grave is still located in Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.