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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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1037 news items

Knoxville daily sun
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:11:15 -0700

All tickets to the 2015/2016 Clarence Brown Theatre Season go on sale Sunday, August 9, 2015. Tickets can be purchased online, 24/7 at clarencebrowntheatre.com or stop by/phone the CBT Box Office Monday through Friday. The Box Office number is (865) ...

Princeton University

Princeton University
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 07:48:45 -0700

"Clarence Brown is recognized throughout the world as a pioneer in the study of Mandelstam," said Michael Wachtel, chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. "In the dark Cold-War years, Clarence spent a year in the Soviet Union.

Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville News Sentinel
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 10:26:15 -0700

More than 250 theatre patrons attended the 2015 Clarence Brown Theatre (CBT) Gala honoring Knoxville native and University of Tennessee alumnus John Cullum at RT Lodge in Maryville. Guests were greeted to the rustic home on the Maryville College ...
Chicago Sun-Times
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 13:16:22 -0700

Clarence Brown suffered a gunshot wound to the torso at East 153rd Street and Turlington Avenue in Harvey, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Brown, of the 0-100 block of East 147th Street in Harvey, was pronounced dead at 6:10 a.m ...
Tennessee Today
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:52:42 -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 ...
Pensacola News Journal
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:59:43 -0700

William Clarence Brown, 24, 4500 block of Charmonte Way, grand theft auto. Yvette Lee Burleson, 43, 4400 block of Westhover Avenue, possession of synthetic narcotics, unlawful possession of a listed chemical. Alexander James Culpepper, 32, 700 block of ...
The Highland County Press
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 01:48:45 -0700

... including Teresa Wisecup, Todd Bobbitt, Phil Roberts, Steve Roush, Angie Matticks and a few others. When I got home, I had a message that Clarence Brown was trying to find me. I figured it was another office prank. Stephanie Prost assured me it was ...
Butler Eagle (subscription)
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 11:56:15 -0700

BUTLER TWP — With Butler School District opening a special needs school of its own this fall, the Clarence Brown Community School faces an uncertain future. The school has offered intensive emotional and behavioral support programs at its Pittsburgh ...

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