Preminger, Otto(1906–86) movie director/producer; born in Vienna, Austria. He abandoned a career as a lawyer to act and work in the theater with Max Reinhardt, and he directed his first movie in 1931. Coming to the U.S.A. in 1933 to direct Libel on Broadway, he moved to Hollywood but quarreled with Darryl Zanuck, who prevented him from directing movies. During World War II, with Zanuck away, he got both to act (playing Nazis, although Jewish himself) and direct in three movies and then was allowed to produce and direct Laura (1944), which was a big success. In the early 1950s he became an independent producer/director and enjoyed considerable success with such movies as Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and Exodus (1960). Although most of his movies were simply popular entertainment, his The Moon is Blue (1953) broke new ground with its use of what was then regarded as sexually explicit language ("virgin" and "pregnant") while The Man with the Golden Arm (1957) was the first Hollywood movie to deal so explicitly with drug addiction.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.