Houseman, John (b. Jacques Haussman)(1902–88) stage and film director, producer, and actor; born in Bucharest, Rumania. Educated in England, he arrived in America in 1925 representing his father's grain business. He began to devote himself to writing and translating, then moved over to the theater, coming to notice with his directorial debut, Four Saints in Three Acts (1934). He joined the Federal Theater Project, then cofounded with Orson Welles the Mercury Theatre (1937) and was closely associated with several of Welles's early productions, including Citizen Kane. After serving during World War II as chief of the overseas radio division of the Office of War Information, he commuted between Hollywood and New York as a producer and director. In the early 1970s he served as director of the new acting school and touring company of the Juilliard Academy and then enjoyed an unexpected new life as an actor after his role as the acerbic law professor in The Paper Chase (1973).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.