Preminger, Otto Ludwig

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PREMINGER, OTTO LUDWIG (1905–1986), U.S. film and stage director and producer. Born in Vienna, Preminger worked at Max *Reinhardt's Josefstadt Theater in Vienna in 1923, and in 1928 was engaged by Reinhardt as director. He went to the U.S. in 1935 and gained prominence in the theater with productions that included the anti-Nazi play Margin for Error (1943). Taking up film work, he became one of the most controversial and important directors.

His successes include Laura (1944); Daisy Kenyon (1947); Angel Face (1952);The Moon Is Blue (1953), which led to a Supreme Court decision that prohibited local censors from stopping distribution; Carmen Jones (1954), an African American version of Bizet's opera Carmen, starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge, whose performance earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress – the first for an African American actress in a leading role; The Man with the Golden Arm (1956); Saint Joan (1957); Bonjour tristesse (1958); Anatomy of a Murder (1959); Exodus (1960), based on Leon *Uris' novel that dealt with the pre-1948 migration of European refugees to Israel; Advise and Consent (1962); In Harm's Way (1965); Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965); Hurry Sundown (1967); Skidoo (1968); Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970); Such Good Friends (1971); Rosebud (1975); and The Human Factor (1979), all of which he produced and directed. Preminger also directed such films as Forever Amber (1947); River of No Return (1954); and Porgy and Bess (1959).

Despite condemnation of several of his films by the Roman Catholic Legion of Decency, Preminger was later decorated by the Vatican for his film The Cardinal (1963). Both Laura and The Cardinal earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Director, and Anatomy of a Murder was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

Preminger's autobiography, Preminger, appeared in 1977.


A. Sarris (ed.), Interviews with Film Directors (1967), 339–49; Current Biography Yearbook 1959 (1960), 369–71. add. bibliography: N. Grob, Otto Preminger (1999); W. Frischauer, Behind the Scenes of Otto Preminger (1974); G. Pratley, The Cinema of Otto Preminger (1971).

[Harvey A. Cooper /

Rohan Saxena and

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]