How much did you know about the celebrated actor?
What, for example, do you make of the above photo? That’s the very serious actor Frederic March, playing a man of at least late middle age being the subject of suspect intentions from no less than Kim Novak.
Can you name this improbable picture?
Answer: director Delbert Mann’s 1959 outing Middle of the Night, the screen version of a Paddy Chayefsky stage play in which March is cast a garment manufacturer who falls for his divorced, 24-year-old receptionist. The picture was something of a big deal at the time, and played at France’s Cannes Film Festival.
It was an interesting change of pace for March, always considered a formidably serious actor with solid Broadway credentials. After all, this was a man who was nominated for a best actor Oscar for playing Willy Loman in 1951’s Death of a Salesman. His last of 88 credits was as Harry Hope in the 1973 big screen version of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, alongside Lee Marvin and Robert Ryan.
Ok, on to the answers to our Fredric March Quiz.
Question 1: March costarred in various productions with his actress wife. Who was she? a) Jessica Tandy; b) Lynn Fontanne; c) Elsa Lanchester; or d) Florence Eldridge.
Answer: d) Florence Eldridge, to whom March was married from 1927 until his death (of prostate cancer in 1975). The pair worked together reasonably often, piling up nearly 10 productions.
Question 2: March is one of just two performers to have won two Oscars and two Tony Awards. Who is the other: a) Rita Moreno; b) Mary Martin; c) Laurence Olivier; or d) Helen Hayes.
Answer: d) Helen Hayes.
Question 3: Yes, March did play Norman Maine in the 1937 version of A Star Is Born. Who played Vicki Lester? a) Jean Harlow; b) Barbara Stanwyck; c) Myrna Loy or d) Janet Gaynor.
Answer: d) Janet Gaynor.
Question 4: March won two best-actor Oscars, one in the early Thirties and the other in the mid-Forties. Can you identify the two pictures that generated these Academy Awards?
Answer: 1931’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and 1946’s The Best Years of Our Lives.
Question 5: In addition, March was nominated for three other pictures, one dating from 1951 and the other two from the 1930s. Can you name them?
Answer: 1951’s Death of a Salesman, 1937’s A Star Is Born and 1930’s The Royal Family of Broadway.