Clifton Webb

Happy birthday to actor CliftonWebbClifton Webb, born Nov. 19, 1889 in Indianapolis, IN. At age 16, Webb moved to New York with his mother, and by 19 was performing consistently on Broadway, appearing in nearly two dozen shows between 1913 and 1947. During the 1920s, Webb had small parts in a handful of films, but Broadway was his mainstay. Webb’s film career began in earnest in 1944, when he was cast in the role of the refined villain Waldo Lydecker, in the noir classic Laura. Darryl F. Zanuck was strongly opposed to having Webb in the role, but fortunately, director Otto Preminger was insistent and held his ground. The result was a  memorable performance by Webb, earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and a contract with Fox. Webb’s follow up to Laura was another classic noir, The Dark Corner (1945), with Lucille Ball and William Bendix. It would be Webb’s last appearance in a noir film, but the beginning of a successful and prolific Hollywood career that included over 20 films and three Oscar nominations. Among his notable roles, was the fussy Mr. Belevedere, who was featured in a series of three comedies: Sitting Pretty (1949), Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949), and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951). Webb died of a heart attack in 1966 at age 76.

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