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George Cukor was an American filmmaker who directed films such as “The Philadelphia Story” and “Gaslight.” He is most known for his comedies and literary adaptations, but he also established himself as a capable sound film director at a time when Hollywood was transitioning from silent to talkies. He had a lengthy and productive career spanning about five decades, during which he received the Academy Award for Best Director once. He was one of the greatest film directors of the twentieth century. He began performing at a young age as the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants to America. He performed in several amateur plays and took dance lessons as a child, and his interest in show business only grew as he grew older. He used to skip classes to go to afternoon matinees while he was in high school. His lawyer father expected him to follow in his footsteps, but the bright and ambitious adolescent had no desire to practice law. Instead, he began working for theatrical organizations, and with ‘Antonia,’ he made his Broadway directing debut. He relocated to Hollywood after a few years, just as talkies were becoming popular. Cukor quickly established himself as a renowned sound film director, reaching the pinnacle of his career with ‘My Fair Lady,’ which earned him an Academy Award.

Childhood and Adolescence

As the youngest child of Hungarian Jewish immigrants Viktor and Helén Ilona Gross, George Dewey Cukor was born on July 7, 1899, in Manhattan, New York, United States. He had a sister who was older than him. His father worked as an assistant district attorney and was a lawyer.

As a child, he was enamored with acting and took part in a number of amateur productions as well as dance lessons. He was so enamored with theater as a teenager that he sometimes skipped classes to attend afternoon matinees.
During his final year, he attended DeWitt Clinton High School and worked as a supernumerary at the Metropolitan Opera. His father expected him to study law after he finished in 1917.

He grudgingly enrolled in City College of New York, where he joined the Students Army Training Corps in October 1918, just as World War I was coming to an end. His military service was short-lived, and he dropped out of school soon after.

A Career of George Cukor

He worked as an assistant stage manager, stage manager, and general manager of a summer stock company for the next few years. He made his Broadway directorial debut in the mid-1920s with Hungarian writer Melchior Lengyel’s ‘Antonia.’ His directing of an Owen Davis stage rendition of ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 1926 first drew the notice of New York critics.

In Hollywood, the late 1920s were a tumultuous time. With the introduction of talkies, Hollywood began to scout talent from New York theaters for sound films. Cukor arrived to Hollywood in 1929, enthralled by the possibilities that filmmaking presented.

His first several months in Hollywood were difficult, and he fought tirelessly to establish himself. He made his solo directorial debut with ‘Tarnished Lady,’ a narrative about a woman who marries a wealthy guy but is unhappy with her life, after co-directing several films.

In 1932, Katharine Hepburn made her film debut in George Cukor’s ‘A Bill of Divorcement.’ He and Hepburn became friends after the film’s success. They appeared in a number of other films together throughout the years, including ‘Little Women’ (1933), ‘Sylvia Scarlett’ (1935), and ‘Holiday’ (1938).

Selznick hired him to direct ‘Gone with the Wind’ in 1936. However, the strategy did not go as planned, and he was fired from the project. There are numerous stories as to why Cukor was sacked, with some speculating that it was because of his homosexuality.

The romantic comedy ‘The Philadelphia Story,’ starring his lifelong friend Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart, kicked off the 1940s for him. While he directed the failed film ‘Her Cardboard Lover’ (1942), he also had success with the Ingrid Bergman starring ‘Gaslight’ during this decade (1944).

In 1954, he directed Judy Garland and James Mason in ‘A Star Is Born,’ a musical. In 2000, the Library of Congress designated the picture as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” and added it to the US National Film Registry.

In the years that followed, his career had many ups and downs, with pictures like ‘Heller in Pink Tights’ and ‘Let’s Make Love’ (both 1960) failing to fare well at the box office.
In 1964, he directed his best-known film, ‘My Fair Lady.’ Cukor received numerous awards for the film, which was a commercial and critical success.

He became less busy in the years after that, directing pictures primarily on a periodic basis. In 1981, he directed his final film, ‘Rich and Famous.’

Major Projects of George Cukor

George Cukor is best known for directing the romantic comedy film ‘The Philadelphia Story,’ about a divorced socialite whose wedding plans are jeopardized when her ex-husband arrives. Cukor received one of six Academy Award nominations for the film, which was a huge success.

His best-known film is ‘My Fair Lady,’ a musical about an impoverished Cockney flower seller girl who is taught to speak “correct” English by a phonetics professor. Eight Academy Awards were given to the picture.

Achievements & Awards

In 1965, George Cukor won the Academy Award for Best Director for his film “My Fair Lady.” He also won the Directors Guild of America Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Director for the same picture.
Cukor received the George Eastman Award for distinguished service to the art of filmmaking from George Eastman House in 1976.

Personal History and Legacy

George Cukor was a gay man. He was known for throwing lavish parties for his gay pals and was regarded as the unofficial leader of Hollywood’s gay subculture. He also had close relationships with a number of Hollywood stars, both men and women.

He kept a close relationship with a younger guy named George Towers and even paid for his education at the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences. Towers eventually married a lady, but he remained close to Cukor for the rest of his life.
Cukor passed away on January 24, 1983, at the age of 83, from a heart attack.

Estimated Net Worth

George is one of the wealthiest directors and one of the most well-known. George Cukor’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


This American cinema director was known for eliciting amazing performances from actresses, earning him the moniker “woman’s director”—a moniker he despised.