Ida Lupino

Happy birthday to actress, IdaLupinodirector, writer, and producer Ida Lupino, born Feb 4, 1918 in London, England. Starting out as an actress, Ida Lupino pushed the boundaries of what was possible for women in the golden age of Hollywood, forging her own path as a writer, director, and producer at a time when very few women were in positions of creative power in Hollywood. She blazed a trail and broke down barriers for all women filmmakers who came after her. Lupino was born into a well-established theatrical family and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Her first film role was in the British movie The Love Race (1931), followed by Her First Affaire (1932). By 1933, she was already playing leads in several more British films before coming to Hollywood, where she appeared in over 15 films for Warner Bros. during the late 1930s. In 1940 she was cast opposite Humphrey Bogart and George Raft in one of the earliest noirs, They Drive by Night. Her noteworthy performance led to leading parts in several more early noir films: High Sierra (1941) with Humphrey Bogart, Out of the Fog (1941) with John Garfield, Ladies in Retirement (1941) with husband Louis Hayward, and Moontide (1942) with Jean Gabin. Lupino worked consistently during the 1940s, although she often found herself suspended by the studio for refusing to take roles or insisting on script revisions. The suspensions enabled Lupino to spend time on movie sets observing the technical aspects of film making, and in 1949, she got an opportunity to put her newfound knowledge into practice during the production of Not Wanted, when director Elmer Clifton became ill. Lupino stepped in and finished directing the movie, but didn’t take credit out of respect for Clifton. Lupino enjoyed directing and wanted to do more, but the studios insisted she be in front of the camera, so in the late 1940s, Lupino and second husband Collier Young, formed The Filmakers, an independent production company that produced 12 feature films, many of them tackling controversial social issues, six of which Lupino directed and five that she wrote or co-wrote, including the noir films: The Hitch-Hiker (1953) (co-writer and director) with Edmond O’Brien and Private Hell 36 (1954) (star and co-writer) with third husband Howard Duff. Throughout this period, Lupino also starred in many studio-produced noir films: The Man I Love (1947) with Robert Alda, Road House (1948) with Cornel Wilde, Woman in Hiding (1950) with Howard Duff, On Dangerous Ground (1951) with Robert Ryan, Beware, My Lovely (1952) with Robert Ryan, Jennifer (1953) with Howard Duff, Women’s Prison (1955) with Jan Sterling, The Big Knife (1955) with Jack Palance, and While the City Sleeps (1956) with Dana Andrews. In total, Lupino starred in 15 classic noir films. By the late 1950s, Lupino was working almost exclusively in television, both as an actor and director. She and husband Howard Duff, starred together in the sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve (1957-58), and Lupino herself appeared on many popular TV shows, including Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, The Wild Wild West, Batman, Family Affair, Columbo, and Charlie’s Angels. She directed multiple episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel (1959-61), Thriller (1961-62), The Untouchables (1962-63), The Fugitive (1963-64), Gilligan’s Island (1964-66), and many other shows. Lupino retired in 1978 leaving a prolific legacy of film and television accomplishments. She died of a stroke in 1995 at age 77.


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