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For other people named Clarence Brown, see Clarence Brown (disambiguation).
Clarence Brown
Clarence Brown 1921.jpg
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]

Born in Clinton, Massachusetts, to a cotton manufacturer, Brown moved to the South when he was 11. 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. 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. 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.


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 not only made the difficult transition from silent cinema to sound cinema, but thrived there, proving himself to be an "actor's director": listening to his actors, respecting their instincts, and often incorporating their suggestions into scenes. In doing so, Brown created believable, under-played, naturalistic dialogue scenes stripped of melodrama, pulsing with the honest rhythms of real-life conversation. 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.

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.

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. In the 1970s, Brown became a much-sought guest lecturer on the film-festival circuit, thanks in part to his connection with Garbo.

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


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."


  • Brownlow, Kevin. "Clarence Brown" in The Parade's Gone By New York: Knopf, 1968
  • "The Hollywood Professionals, Vol. 6: Frank Capra, George Cukor, Clarence Brown" by Allen Estrin, AS Barnes, 1980
  • An Extraordinary Town, How one of America's smallest towns shaped the world - A Historical Marketing Book by A. J. Bastarache. Featuring a comprehensive section on Clarence Brown.
  • Young, Gwenda. 'Clarence Brown: From Knoxville to Hollywood and Back'. Journal of East Tennessee History', 2002. 73 :53-73

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Brown — Please support Wikipedia.
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1534 news items

Tennessee Today
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:45:00 -0700

For a second year in a row, a foundation connected to the operators of several Broadway theaters has granted operating funds to UT's Clarence Brown Theatre. This year's grant is for $15,000. The theater was among a select group of recipients nationwide ...
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 00:07:30 -0700

While many high school students have headed off to camps full of campfires and canoeing for the summer, a few ambitious students have signed up for a very different experience. Clarence Brown Theatre will host “intensive actor training workshops” for ...

Audio Visual News Network

Audio Visual News Network
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 11:33:45 -0700

Applied Global Technologies (AGT) recently completed an AV upgrade the Clarence Brown Conference Center, an event venue located in Cartersville, Georgia, which specializes in corporate meetings, trade shows, social events, and educational training ...

Knoxville daily sun

Knoxville daily sun
Thu, 11 Jun 2015 19:37:30 -0700

Hosted by WBIR's Robin Wilhoit and John Becker, the Gala benefitted the Clarence Brown Theatre Artists Endowment, which helps bring professional guest artists from across the United States to the stages of the CBT. Guest artists engage and teach ...
Knoxville daily sun
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 06:41:15 -0700

Clarence Brown Theatre has a dual mission to train the next generation of theatre artists and to provide top quality professional theatre, like that of a teaching hospital. The Theatre at the University of Tennessee Knoxville is one of only 12 academic ...

The Inquisitr

The Inquisitr
Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:11:15 -0700

He also filled in as a session musician for Bobby Bare, Clarence Brown, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings. Music Row reports Lane wrote hundreds of songs. However, “Till I Get It Right,” which was originally sung by Tammy ...


Fri, 03 Jul 2015 02:00:00 -0700

Friedman's (“Lombardi,” “Born Yesterday,” “Over the Tavern”) regional stage credits include The Clarence Brown Theatre, Flat Rock Playhouse, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis , Austria 's Vienna English Theatre and ...

Local 8 Now

Local 8 Now
Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:22:30 -0700

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It may not look like a fairy tale setting, but Clarence Brown Theater is Rachel and Laura Clift's 'Once Upon a Time'. "Every year we just want to be in theater more and more," says Rachel Clift. The twins are upcoming ...

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