Thursday, November 17, 2016

Clifton Webb, b. November 19, 1889

I have always liked Clifton Webb.  Interesting character.  Started off as a dancer, appearing on Broadway. 

Having seen Webb in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit on Broadway, Director Otto Preminger insisted on having Webb cast in his movie Laura (1944), as the villain Waldo Lydecker.  Great part and great performance by Mr. Webb, earning him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. IMO he should have won, but it was the year of Going My Way and Barry Fitzgerald had it sewn up.  Claude Rains (Mr. Skeffington) and Monty Woolley (Since You Went Away) were also nominated ... some tough competition! 

In 1948 Webb starred in Sitting Pretty, the first of several Mr. Belvedere movies, playing a character patterned on Mr. Webb's real-life persona: "fastidious, fussy, abrasive and condescending."  A nicer version of that character appears in Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), with Webb as the father of all those kids and Myrna Loy as the ever-understanding wife and mother. 

Webb lived with his mother Maybelle until her death at 91.  He was inconsolable for a year after her death.  Noel Coward, a close friend of Webb's, is quoted as saying:  "It must be difficult to be orphaned at 70." 

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