Friday, June 24, 2011

Irving Pichel

Who was born on this date:

Actor/ director Irving Pichel was born on June 24, 1891. Among his most notable screen roles were as the servant Sandor in Dracula's Daughter (1936) and as Fagin in the 1933 adaptation of Oliver Twist. He directed several films, including The Miracle of the Bells (1948), Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948), and Destination Moon (1950). His voice was heard as narrator in How Green Was My Valley (1941), and as the voice of Jesus in the film The Forgotten Commandments (1932). By the mid 1940’s, Pichel played small parts in several of the films that he directed, performed on radio, and was the narrator of John Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). His last films as a director were sectarian church-basement favorites Martin Luther in 1953, and Day of Triumph in 1954.

In 1947, Pichel was one of 19 members of the Hollywood community who were subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the United States' second Red Scare. This group became known as the "Hollywood Nineteen" and the "Unfriendly Nineteen.” While Pichel was ultimately not called to testify, he was blacklisted, although he got around the blacklist by leaving the United States. He died on July 13, 1954 and is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California., author of "Fade to Black: Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats, 1927-1950"

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