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For other people named Clarence Brown, see Clarence Brown (disambiguation).
Clarence Brown
Clarence Brown signed photo.jpg
Signed Photo
Born Clarence Leon Brown
(1890-05-10)May 10, 1890
Clinton, Massachusetts
Died August 17, 1987(1987-08-17) (aged 97)
Santa Monica, California
Spouse(s) Paul Herndon Pratt (1 daughter)
Ona Wilson (1922–1927; divorce)
Mona Maris
Alice Joyce (1933–1945; divorce)
Marian Spies (1946–1987; his death)

Clarence Leon Brown (May 10, 1890 – August 17, 1987) was an American film director.

Early life[edit]

Brown (1921)

Born in Clinton, Massachusetts, to a cotton manufacturer, Brown moved to Tennessee when he was 11 years old. He attended Knoxville High School[1] and the University of Tennessee, both in Knoxville, Tennessee, graduating from the university at the age of 19 with two degrees in engineering.[2] An early fascination in automobiles led Brown to a job with the Stevens-Duryea Company, then to his own Brown Motor Car Company in Alabama.[3] He later abandoned the car dealership after developing an interest in motion pictures around 1913. He was hired by the Peerless Studio at Fort Lee, New Jersey, and became an assistant to the French-born director Maurice Tourneur.[4]


After serving in World War I, Brown was given his first co-directing credit (with Tourneur) for The Great Redeemer (1920). Later that year, he directed a major portion of The Last of the Mohicans after Tourneur was injured in a fall.

Brown moved to Universal in 1924, and then to MGM, where he stayed until the mid-1950s. At MGM he was one of the main directors of their female stars–he directed Joan Crawford six times and Greta Garbo seven.

He was nominated five times (see below) for the Academy Award as a director, and once as a producer, but never received an Oscar. However, he did win Best Foreign Film for Anna Karenina starring Garbo at the 1935 Venice International Film Festival.[5]

Brown's films gained a total of 38 Academy Award nominations and earned nine Oscars. Brown himself received six Academy Award nominations and in 1949 won the British Academy Award for the film version of William Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust.

In 1957, Brown was awarded The George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.[6] Brown retired a wealthy man due to his real estate investments, but refused to watch new movies, as he feared they might cause him to restart his career.

The Clarence Brown Theater, on the campus of the University of Tennessee, is named in his honor.[7] He is tied with Robert Altman and Alfred Hitchcock for the most Academy Award nominations for best director without a single win.[8]


Brown died from kidney failure on August 17, 1987, at the age of 97.[9] He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.[10] For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Clarence Brown has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1700 Vine Street.[11]

Selected filmography[edit]

NOTE: In 1929/1930, Brown received one Academy Award nomination for two films. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, "As allowed by the award rules for this year, a single nomination could honor work in one or more films."


  1. ^ John Shearer, Famous alumni from Knoxville High School, Knoxville News Sentinel, May 28, 2010
  2. ^ "Clarence Brown Collection - Special Collections - Libraries - The University of Tennessee, Knoxville". www.lib.utk.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  3. ^ "Clarence Brown Collection - Special Collections - Libraries - The University of Tennessee, Knoxville". www.lib.utk.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  4. ^ "Clarence Brown - About This Person - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  5. ^ "Clarence Brown". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  6. ^ Tarbell, Molly. "George Eastman Award". George Eastman Museum. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  7. ^ "History | Clarence Brown Theatre". clarencebrowntheatre.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  8. ^ "Clarence Brown". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  9. ^ JR, TED THACKREY (1987-08-19). "Clarence Brown, Director of Garbo, Gable, Dies at 97". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  10. ^ "Clarence Brown (1890 - 1987) - Find A Grave Memorial". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  11. ^ "Clarence Brown". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 


  • Brownlow, Kevin. "Clarence Brown" in The Parade's Gone By New York: Knopf (1968)
  • Estrin, Allen. "The Hollywood Professionals, Vol. 6: Frank Capra, George Cukor, Clarence Brown" , AS Barnes (1980)
  • Bastarache, A.J. An Extraordinary Town, How one of America's smallest towns shaped the world - A Historical Marketing Book by A. J. Bastarache.
  • Young, Gwenda. 'Clarence Brown: From Knoxville to Hollywood and Back'. Journal of East Tennessee History', pp. 53-73 (2002)
  • Young, Gwenda. "Star Maker: The Career of Clarence Brown", bfi.org.uk (April 2003)
  • Neely, Jack. "Clarence Brown: The Forgotten Director", Metro Pulse (March 2008)

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Brown — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

3250 news items

The Knoxville Mercury

The Knoxville Mercury
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:33:45 -0700

In Clarence Brown Theatre's skillful and energetic new production of South Pacific, which opened last weekend and runs through May 8, director Terry Silver-Alford has made sure that the audience walks away with that same hope. However, the show's ...


Thu, 21 Apr 2016 19:48:45 -0700

Rodgers and Hammerstein's “South Pacific”premiered at the Clarence Brown Theatre Wednesday, April 20. The theatre at the university always does a fantastic job, and this may have been the best, production wise, that I have seen. But as far as plot goes ...
Knoxville News Sentinel
Sat, 02 Apr 2016 09:18:45 -0700

The Clarence Brown Theatre's 2016-17 season will begin in September with mountain music and end next spring with a trip around the world. Shows play in the Clarence Brown main stage with 500 to 564 seats, the in-the-round, 400-seat Carousel Theatre ...

Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville News Sentinel
Sat, 16 Apr 2016 08:33:59 -0700

He teaches musical theater in the University of Tennessee theater department, and he's directing the Clarence Brown Theatre's April 20-May 8 main stage production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Tony Award-winning "South Pacific." The musical closes the ...

The Daily Star

The Daily Star
Fri, 01 Apr 2016 11:22:30 -0700

Although he trained as an engineer and expected to pursue a career in the automotive industry, Clarence Brown became enamoured of the burgeoning new industry of filmmaking around 1914 and switched careers. The Massachusetts-born ...

Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville News Sentinel
Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:11:15 -0700

Pell will be in Knoxville to be honored at the 2016 Black & White Gala of the Clarence Brown Theatre at 7 p.m. May 20 in Jackson Terminal. The 1986 graduate has a bachelor of arts degree in theatre and speech. In 2012, she received the UT Accomplished ...

The Knoxville Mercury

The Knoxville Mercury
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 08:56:15 -0700

The most famous filmmaker from Knoxville was Clarence Brown (1890-1987), who was a prolific director for MGM during Hollywood's Golden Age. Born in Clinton, Mass., Brown was 11 when his family moved to Knoxville, where his father took a job in ...


Fri, 18 Mar 2016 10:48:45 -0700

The Clarence Brown Theatre announced its eight-play lineup for the 2016-2017 season Friday. Sales for new subscriptions start April 22. “Our new offerings present contrasts between light and shadow, hope and disappointment, adventure and danger.

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