Paul Douglas

Paul Douglas

actor, soundtrack

Paul Douglas was born on Apr 11, 1907 in USA. Paul Douglas's big-screen debut came with Calling All Tars directed by Lloyd French in 1936, strarring Semaphore Signalman (uncredited). Paul Douglas is known for Goodyear Theatre directed by Robert Florey, David Niven stars as 'Jeffrey Collins' and Robert Ryan as Dr. Robert Ross. The most recent award Paul Douglas achieved is Walk of Fame. The upcoming new movie Paul Douglas plays is The Mating Game which will be released on Oct 02, 1959.

A rare breed this guy. Paul Douglas became an unlikely middle-aged cinema star by simply capitalizing on his big, burly, brash and boorish appeal to the nth degree. The 5'11", 200 lb. actor was a bold, unabashed risk taker. He forsook an extremely successful career as one of the country's top radio/sports announcers to prove his value as an actor. The risk paid off when he found immediate award-winning success on the Broadway comedy stage.Later, despite being a raw new talent in Tinseltown, he had the audacity to turn down the Hollywood powers-that-be to revive his Broadway success to film because he felt they had "reduced" his role too much. Somehow again, the risk paid off. He defied the odds once again and became an unlikely overnight smash with his very first film(!) Moreover, he went on to prove he was no one trick pony, cementing his stardom in a number of prime vehicles in both broad comedy and melodrama. And, on top of that, the homely actor managed to have many of the top Hollywood dolls falling for his big lug appeal on screen -- Linda Darnell, Judy Holliday, Celeste Holm, Joan Bennett, Jean Peters, Janet Leigh and Ruth Roman among them. It, in fact, would take an early and sudden death to end all this wildly successful risk-taking.The bombastic, blue-collar persona Douglas exhibited naturally on stage and screen was actually quite a contrast to his own family background. He was born in an upper-class section of Philadelphia to a well-to-do doctor on April 11, 1907, and was christened Paul Douglas Fleischer. An interest in acting sparked while he was a student at West Philadelphia High School. Following graduation, his thoughts turned to college. He went on to take entrance examinations at Yale but never attended the college. Instead Paul made a minor dent as a professional football player with Philly's Frankford Yellow Jackets team.In 1928, he parlayed his passion for athletics into a highly successful sportscasting and commentating career and grew in respect as one of the country's top sports announcers and master of ceremonies. He started at the CBS radio station WCAU in Philly and relocated to the CBS headquarters in New York in 1934 where Douglas co-hosted its popular swing music program "The Saturday Night Swing Club" from 1936-39. But it wasn't enough. The acting bug bit again. After appearing in a few stock and small theatre plays, he made his Broadway acting debut in November of 1936 as a radio announcer in the comedy satire "Double Dummy" at the John Golden Theatre, but it closed the next month and he returned to radio, eventually landing a cozy niche as an announcer and straight man opposite the likes of Jack Benny (he was Benny's first announcer), Fred Allen and the team of George Burns and Gracie Allen in their respective series. He also found work narrating a host of pre-WWII documentary shorts.Douglas became a highly recognized personality by this radio success ($2,500/week), but brashly decided to give it all up and accept a paltry weekly salary ($250 per week) when writer Garson Kanin offered him the lead role as chauvinistic moneybags Harry Brock in his Broadway play "Born Yesterday" in 1946. Co-starring Judy Holliday and Gary Merrill, the show was a huge comedy smash and Douglas the toast of New York in a highly unappealing role. He nabbed both the Theatre World and Clarence Derwent acting prizes for his hot-tempered junkman. The relatively inexperienced actor wisely remained with the show through all 1,024 performances before leaving to seek out Hollywood roles. He exploded onto the Hollywood scene with his very first film, the classic Joseph L. Mankiewicz drama Chaînes conjugales (1949). There was pure electricity in his scenes with the equally earthy scene-stealing Linda Darnell. The new film star was immediately tapped to host the 22nd annual Academy Awards in March 1950.In a surprise move, Douglas had the nerve to rebuff a Hollywood offer to recreate his Harry Brock role when Comment l'esprit vient aux femmes (1950) was turned into a film, starring his Broadway co-star Judy Holliday. After reading the film script, he was put off that his part had been minimalized to the point of favoring his leading lady and to meet the demands of the other male superstar in the picture, William Holden. Columbia used their own manic human dynamo, Broderick Crawford, to take over the film role. As brilliant as Crawford was, and as Douglas himself predicted, it was Holliday who received the lion's share of the attention with an Academy Award-winning tour de force.Douglas instead concentrated on his own star vehicles. His chemistry was so good with Linda Darnell in his first film that the pair was signed to co-star in two more film showcases within a short span of time, Si ma moitié savait ça (1949) and The Guy Who Came Back (1951). He also found a way to pay tribute to his former roots in sports starring in two worthy baseball comedy films, It Happens Every Spring (1949), and Angels in the Outfield (1951). His string of hits continued with the cop thriller Panique dans la rue (1950) in which he partnered with Richard Widmark and 14 heures (1951). He gave a sympathetic performance as the naive fisherman husband of adulterous Barbara Stanwyck in Le démon s'éveille la nuit (1952); and re-teamed with "Comment l'esprit vient aux femmes (1950)" co-star Judy Holliday successfully in a different vehicle, the comedy Une cadillac en or massif (1956) in which he again plays a gruff, self-made businessman.In other media, Douglas gave himself the chance to recreate his Harry Brock to video with a Hallmark Hall of Fame episode of Born Yesterday (1956) opposite Mary Martin and Arthur Hill. Douglas also made a return to Broadway with the moderate 1957 hit play, "A Hole in the Head", co-starring David Burns, Lee Grant and Kay Medford and again directed by his playwright/friend Garson Kanin. In between he continued to find work here and there as a radio announcer (for Ed Wynn)) and was the first host of NBC Radio's "Horn & Hardart Children's Hour".Divorced from non-actors Sussie Welles, Elizabeth Farnesworth and Geraldine Higgins, Douglas's final two marriages were to actresses, with each one producing a child. In early 1942 he married fourth wife/actress Virginia Field. Separated in December 1945, they divorced the following year. He later met actress Jan Sterling and married her on June 22, 1950. This marriage proved happy and lasted until his death.Douglas's final movie was another in a career of comedy highlights as the fun-loving bucolic in Comment dénicher un mari (1959), co-starring with Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randall. In April 1959, Douglas enjoyed a special guest star turn on the highly-popular The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957), as the dingy redhead's TV morning show boss, in a Connecticut episode entitled The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour: Lucy Wants a Career (1959).Paul had just completed filming La quatrième dimension (1959) episode, La quatrième dimension: The Mighty Casey (1960), in a baseball manager role, specifically written for him by Rod Serling, based on Douglas's memorable Angels in the Outfield (1951) role, when the 52-year-old Douglas collapsed and died of a massive heart attack as he got out of bed on the morning of September 11, 1959. With Serling unable to reshoot parts in which Douglas looked especially drawn and haggard, the entire episode had to be re-filmed (at Serling's own expense) with Jack Warden taking over the lead part. In addition, Billy Wilder had recently cast Douglas as Jack Lemmon's philandering boss Sheldrake in the hit film, La garçonnière (1960). The film, which was about set to film, recast Fred MacMurray in the role.

  • Birthday

    Apr 11, 1907
  • Place of Birth

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Known For


3 wins & 0 nominations

Walk of Fame
Motion Picture
Winner - Star on the Walk of Fame
Winner - Star on the Walk of Fame
Venice Film Festival
Executive Suite (1954)
Winner - Special Jury Prize
Executive Suite (1954)

Movies & TV Shows

TV Shows