George Ives - Rotten Tomatoes

George Ives

Highest Rated:   83% Niagara (1953)
Lowest Rated:   75% Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Sharp-eyed viewers of Joel Coen's 2003 comedy Intolerable Cruelty might have noticed the older character actor playing the plaintiff's attorney in the first trial scene involving George Clooney. The deep, melodious voice, excellent old-style diction, and the sheer screen presence belonged to George Ives, a 50-year veteran of movies and the theater. Ives was born in New York City in 1922 and attended Garden City High School on Long Island. He studied drama at Columbia University and made his stage debut in Walter Kerr's Stardust, which closed before reaching Broadway. His Broadway debut came in 1947 in Alice in Arms, and appeared in road productions of Janie, Charley's Aunt, and Silver Whistle, in between work on Broadway in Present Laughter, You Never Can Tell, Mr. Barry's Etchings, Season in the Sun, and The Seven-Year Itch. He was also in the road-company production of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (starring Eddie Bracken). Ives worked in postwar radio and television, including such anthology shows as Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Theatre Guild on the Air, Studio One, The Philco Television Playhouse, and Kraft Television Theatre, and did guest spots on Sgt. Bilko and The Celeste Holm Show, among other series. Amid all that East Coast activity, the actor made his screen debut in 1952 in a small role in Henry Hathaway's Niagara, starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten. The part came about, Ives recalled in a 2004 interview, because they were shooting up at Niagara Falls and it was cheaper to bring actors in from New York City than from Hollywood. "Marilyn was acting up," he remembered with amusement, "and Arch Johnson and I were very grateful, because they had us up there for a week and a half, being paid, before they got to us." In between theater roles, Ives continued working on television into the 1960s, long after the medium moved to the West Coast. Live television had its virtues, which he appreciated, including rehearsal time and the immediacy of theater. It was also during the '60s in Hollywood that he got his best shots at regular series work. In 1961, he was in a sitcom called The Hathaways, with Jack Weston and Peggy Cass, about a couple raising a family of performing chimpanzees, though the show lasted but one season. Ives' 6-foot-2-inch height, dignified appearance, and resonant voice often got him cast as authority figures, and he did numerous guest spots on such series as The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Bewitched (he was a good friend of series co-star David White). In 1965, Ives got his best regular TV role, co-starring as Doc in the series Mr. Roberts, for Warner Bros. Television, based on the John Ford/Mervyn LeRoy navy drama starring Henry Fonda and James Cagney. Working in the shadow of William Powell, who had played the part in the movie, he made the role of the ship's doctor work for him on his terms. The series was renewed for a second season, but then abruptly canceled three weeks later when NBC decided to pick up Please Don't Eat the Daisies instead as a favor to MGM Television, which was producing the huge hit The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for the network. As good as he was with benign and avuncular roles, Ives also excelled at playing sinister, villainous, and sleazy parts, as fans of John Brahm's 1967 delinquency drama Hot Rods to Hell have come to appreciate. His other film appearances included the Paul Newman military comedy The Secret War of Harry Frigg in 1968. Ives remained active in theater all the while he was working on TV and movie projects, and in the early '70s, he was asked by Actors' Equity to take on an executive position with the organization on the West Coast. He eventually became executive director of the union's operations there, a position which precluded him from doing much other work. Ives finally retired from the union in the '90s and started working as an actor again. One of his jobs was a Honda commercial made by Joel and Ethan Coen. That pr

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
75% Intolerable Cruelty
  • Mrs. Gutman's Lawyer
2003
81% The Man Who Wasn't There
  • Lloyd Garroway
2001
No Score Yet Get to Know Your Rabbit
  • Mr. Morris
1972
No Score Yet The Secret War of Harry Frigg
  • Major
1968
No Score Yet Hot Rods to Hell
  • Lank Dailey
1967
83% Niagara
  • Carillon Tower Guide
1953

Quotes from George Ives' Characters

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