John Houseman

John Houseman

Highest Rated: 100% Lust for Life (1956)

Lowest Rated: 14% Wholly Moses! (1980)

Birthday: Sep 22, 1902

Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania

Before entering the entertainment industry, actor, producer, scriptwriter, playwright and stage director John Houseman, born Jacques Haussmann, first worked for his father's grain business after graduating from college, then began writing magazine pieces and translating plays from German and French. Living in New York, he was writing, directing, and producing plays by his early 30s; soon he had a stellar reputation on Broadway. In 1937, he and Orson Welles founded the Mercury Theater, at which he produced and directed radio specials and stage presentations; at the same time he was a teacher at Vassar. He produced Welles's never-completed first film, Too Much Johnson (1938). Houseman then went on to play a crucial role in the packaging of Welles's first completed film, the masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941): he developed the original story with Herman Mankiewicz, motivated Mankiewicz to complete the script, and worked as a script editor and general advisor for the film. Shortly afterwards, he and Welles had a falling out and Houseman became a vice president of David O. Selznick Productions, a post he quit in late 1941 (after Pearl Harbor) to become chief of the overseas radio division of the OWI. After returning to Hollywood he produced many fine films and commuted to New York to produce and direct Broadway plays and TV specials; in all, the films he produced were nominated for 20 Oscars and won seven. Later he became the artistic director of the touring repertory group the Acting Company, with which he toured successfully in the early '70s. He debuted onscreen at the age of 62 in Seven Days in May (1964), and then in the '70s and '80s played character roles in a number of films. As an actor he was best known as Kingsfield, the stern Harvard law professor, in the film The Paper Chase (1973), his second screen appearance, for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar; he reprised the role in the TV series of the same name. He authored two autobiographies, Run-Through (1972) and Front and Center (1979).

Highest Rated Movies



87% The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Driving Instructor 1988
70% Scrooged Himself 1988
64% Another Woman Marion's Dad 1988
60% Bright Lights, Big City Mr. Vogel 1988
No Score Yet Gore Vidal's 'Lincoln' General Scott 1988
No Score Yet Noble House Actor 1988
No Score Yet Noble House Sir Geoffrey Allison 1988
No Score Yet Merry Wives of Windsor Actor 1983
No Score Yet The Skin of Our Teeth Network Newscaster 1983
No Score Yet Rose For Emily Actor 1983
No Score Yet Murder by Phone Dr. Stanley Markowitz 1982
37% Ghost Story Sears James 1981
No Score Yet The Babysitter Actor 1980
83% My Bodyguard Dobbs 1980
14% Wholly Moses! Archangel 1980
No Score Yet A Christmas Without Snow Ephraim Adams 1980
No Score Yet Gideon's Trumpet Executive Producer Chief Justice 1980
76% The Fog Machen 1980
56% Old Boyfriends Dr. Hoffman 1979
47% The Cheap Detective Jasper Blubber 1978
No Score Yet American Short Story Actor 1977
No Score Yet Our Town Professor Willard 1977
44% St. Ives Abner Procane 1976
No Score Yet Beyond the Horizon Actor 1976
No Score Yet Six Characters in Search of an Author The Director 1976
86% Three Days of the Condor Wabash 1975
66% Rollerball Bartholomew 1975
No Score Yet Clarence Darrow Director 1974
86% The Paper Chase Prof. Kingsfield 1973
64% This Property Is Condemned Producer 1966
91% Seven Days in May Adm. Barnswell 1964
No Score Yet In the Cool of the Day Producer 1963
40% All Fall Down Producer 1962
89% Two Weeks in Another Town Producer 1962
No Score Yet Ill Met by Moonlight (Intelligence Service) (Night Ambush) Actor 1958
100% Lust for Life Producer 1956
83% The Cobweb Producer 1955
69% Moonfleet Producer 1955
No Score Yet Her Twelve Men (Miss Baker's Dozen) Producer 1954
100% Executive Suite Producer 1954
95% Julius Caesar Producer 1953
96% The Bad and the Beautiful Producer 1953
No Score Yet Holiday for Sinners Producer 1952
94% On Dangerous Ground Producer 1952
No Score Yet The Company She Keeps Producer 1950
100% They Live by Night Producer 1948
100% Letter From an Unknown Woman Producer 1948
100% The Blue Dahlia Producer 1946
No Score Yet The Unseen Producer 1945
100% Jane Eyre Screenwriter 1944


No Score Yet The Winds of War
Aaron 1983
No Score Yet The Bionic Woman
Dr. Franklin 1976
No Score Yet Tales of the Unexpected


Kingsfield says: Nobody inhibits you from expressing yourself.

Kingsfield says: You come in here with a skull full of mush... and you leave thinking like a lawyer.

Kingsfield says: You teach yourselves the law... but I train your mind.

Kingsfield says: Through this method of questioning, answering... questioning, answering... we seek to develop in you the ability to analyze... that vast complex of facts that constitute... the relationships of members within a given society.