Vidor, King

Vidor, King (Wallis)

(1894–1982) film director; born in Galveston, Texas. Taken with movies as a youth, he worked as a projectionist, then filmed local news events. With his new bride, Florence Arto, he went off to Hollywood in 1915; her career as an actress quickly took off, but King Vidor didn't direct his first feature film until 1919, establishing his reputation with The Big Parade (1925). In many of his early films, such as The Crowd (1929), he was truly innovative in his use of camera techniques and sound effects, but in subject and mood he was somewhat naive; in Our Daily Bread (1934) he extolled nature and cooperative farming. Thereafter he turned to more commercially acceptable films like Duel in the Sun (1947), retiring abruptly in 1959. He taught graduate filmmaking at the University of California: Los Angeles in the 1960s and in 1979 he received an honorary Oscar for his "incomparable achievements as a cinematic creator and innovator."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.