Oscar Directors: Cummings, Irving–Background, Career, Filmography

Irving Cummings Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: Yes

Origins: Cummings began his career as an actor

Age at directing debut: 34

Oscar Nomination:

Other Nominations

Age at last film: 63

Age of death: 50


Span of Years as Director: 1922-1945; then one film

Marriage: Actress


Death: 1959; aged 70


Irving Cummings

Born October 9, 1888, New York City.

Irving Cummings appeared with Lillian Russell’s stage company before entering films in 1909.

He was a popular leading man in some silent pictures, before becoming a director in the early 20s.

Cummings’ early films as director, both silent and talkies, were mostly in the action vein, often sprinkled with humor.

From the mid-1930s, he specialized in Fox musicals and light films.  He directed some of the best vehicles of Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, and Betty Grable, and Carmen Miranda.

He was not a very original director but a consistent craftsman of solid entertainment.

Cummings was married to silent screen actress Ruth Sinclair.

Oscar Alert

In 1929, Irving Cummings was nominated for the Best Director Oscar for his Western “In Old Arizona,” but he lost to Frank Lloyd who won for “The Divine Lady.”

The other nominees were: Lionel Barrymore for the melodrama “Madame X,” Harry Beaumont for the musical “Broadway Melody,” which won Best Picture, Frank Lloyd for “Drag,” and Ernst Lubitsch for “The Patriot.”


Flesh and Blood (1922)

Broad Daylight (1922)

The Jilt (1922)

Stolen Secrets (1924)

In Every Woman’s Life (1924)

The Rose of Paris (1924)

One Year to Live (1925)

The Desert Flower (1925)

Infatuation (1925)

The Johnstown Flood (1926)

Rustling for Cupid (1926)

The Country Beyond (1926)

Bertha, the Sewing Machine Girl (1926)

The Port of Missing Girls (1928)

Romance of the Underworld (1928)

Sound Films

In Old Arizona (1929)

Behind That Curtain (1929)

Not Quite Decent (1929)

Cameo Kirby (1930)

On the Level (1930)

A Holy Terror (1931)

The Cisco Kid (1931)

Attorney for the Defense (1932)

Man Hunt (1933)

The Woman I Stole (1933)

I Believed in You (1934)

Grand Canary (1934)

The White Parade (1934)

Curly Top (1935)

Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)

Girls’ Dormitory (1936)

White Hunter (1936)

Vogues of 1938 (1937)

Merry-Go-Round of 1938 (1937)

Little Miss Broadway (1938)

Just Around the Corner (1938)

Everything Happens at Night (1939)

Hollywood Cavalcade (1939)

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)

Lillian Russell (1940)

Down Argentine Way (1940)

That Night in Rio (1941)

Belle Starr (1941)

Louisiana Purchase (1941)

My Gal Sal (1942)

Springtime in the Rockies (1942)

Sweet Rosie O’Grady (1943)

The Impatient Years (1944)

The Dolly Sisters (1945)

Double Dynamite (1951) (age 63)


Born Irving Camisky, October 9, 1888, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died April 18, 1959 (aged 70), Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Years actively 1903–1959
Spouse: Ruth Sinclair (married 1917); actress