Freed, Arthur

Freed, Arthur
orig. Arthur Grossman

born Sept. 9, 1894, Charleston, S.C., U.S.
died April 12, 1973, Los Angeles, Calif.

U.S. film producer and lyricist.

He performed in vaudeville and wrote songs in the 1920s. MGM hired him in 1929 to write lyrics for musicals, and over the next decade he produced hits such as "Singin' in the Rain," "Temptation," and "You Are My Lucky Star." After serving as associate producer of The Wizard of Oz (1939), he was promoted to producer. He was largely responsible for the high quality of MGM's musicals of the 1940s and '50s, including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Easter Parade (1948), An American in Paris (1951, Academy Award), Singin' in the Rain (1952), and Gigi (1958, Academy Award).

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▪ American producer
original name  Arthur Grossman 
born September 9, 1894, Charleston, S.C., U.S.
died April 12, 1973, Los Angeles, Calif.

      American film producer who reshaped the visual style and narrative structure of the musical comedy genre.

      Freed attended Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, before embarking on his musical career. He played piano for a Chicago music publisher, worked in vaudeville, and dabbled in songwriting before landing a job as a lyricist for MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.) studios in 1928. Teamed with Nacio Herb Brown, he cowrote such movie musical standards as “Singin' in the Rain,” “Broadway Rhythm,” and “You Are My Lucky Star.”

      Freed repeatedly pressed studio production chief Louis B. Mayer (Mayer, Louis B) for a chance to produce, and in 1938 he was named associate producer of The Wizard of Oz (1939). He then produced a series of “backyard” musicals starring Mickey Rooney (Rooney, Mickey) and Judy Garland (Garland, Judy), including Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), and Girl Crazy (1943). His production of Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) marked a turning point for Freed. It was the first in a string of influential musicals made with the Technicolor process and big-name casts. From 1944 to 1958, when he made Gigi, his name was synonymous with the musical.

      Freed's major contribution to film history was the big-budget integrated musical (musical film), which incorporated songs and production numbers into the narrative. This differs significantly from the backstage musical, in which production numbers are performed onstage. By contrast, the characters in integrated musicals break into song at any time, expressing their feelings or narrating an event through song and dance. Freed's integrated musicals include four bona fide classics of the genre: On the Town (1949), An American in Paris (1951), Singin' in the Rain (1952), and The Band Wagon (1953).

      Perhaps Freed's greatest skill was his keen awareness of talent. Throughout his years at MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.), he built a production unit of trusted cast and crew members—dubbed the “Freed Unit”—which he used repeatedly to make his films and which boasted some of the most durable names in film musicals: directors Vincente Minnelli (Minnelli, Vincente) and Stanley Donen (Donen, Stanley), actors Fred Astaire (Astaire, Fred), Judy Garland, and Gene Kelly (Kelly, Gene), and writers Adolph Green and Betty Comden (Comden, Betty; and Green, Adolph), among others. Highly respected in the industry, Freed received the Irving G. Thalberg Award (a special Academy Award given for excellence in producing) in 1951 and France's Legion of Honour in 1967.

Additional Reading
Hugh Fordin, M-G-M's Greatest Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit (1996).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Arthur Freed — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Freed. Arthur Freed Données clés Nom de naissance Arthur Grossmann Naissance 9 septembre 1894 Charleston, Caroline du Sud États Unis …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Arthur — /ahr theuhr/, n. 1. Chester Alan, 1830 86, 21st president of the U.S. 1881 85. 2. legendary king in ancient Britain: leader of the Knights of the Round Table. 3. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Port Arthur Adamov Arthur Arthur s …   Universalium

  • Arthur — (as used in expressions) Adamov, Arthur Arthur, Chester A(lan) Arthur, paso Ashe, Arthur (Robert), Jr. Baldwin, James (Arthur) Balfour (de Whittingehame), Arthur James, 1 conde Bell, (Arthur) Clive (Heward) Bliss, Sir Arthur (Edward Drummond)… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Arthur Freed — Arthur Freed, eigentlich Arthur Grossman (* 9. September 1894 in Charleston, South Carolina; † 12. April 1973 in Los Angeles) war ein US amerikanischer Musicalproduzent und Liedertexter. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Literatur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Arthur Grossmann — Arthur Freed Pour les articles homonymes, voir Freed. De son vrai nom Arthur Grossmann, Arthur Freed est un producteur et parolier américain, né le 9 septembre 1894 à Charleston (Caroline du Sud), décédé le 12 avril 1973. Sous …   Wikipédia en Français

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