Oscar Directors: De Toth, Andre (1912-2002)

Andre De Toth was a Hungarian-American film director, born and raised in Hungary in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  He directed the 3-D film House of Wax, despite being unable to see in 3-D himself, having lost an eye at an early age. He is known for his gritty B movies in the western and crime genres.

Born May 15, 2012 as Sâsvári Farkasfalvi Tóthfalusi Tóth Endre Antal Mihály, he earned a degree in law from the Royal Hungarian University in the early 1930s. He garnered acclaim for plays written as a college student, acquiring the mentorship of Ferenc Molnár and becoming part of the theater scene in Budapest.  He then segued to the film industry and worked as a writer, assistant director, editor and sometime actor.

In 1939 he directed five films just before war began in Europe. Several of these pictures received significant release in the Hungarian communities in the United States. De Toth went to England, spent several years as an assistant to fellow Hungarian émigré Alexander Korda, and eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1942.

Based on his Hungarian films, the production work for Korda and writing he had done on American projects during earlier stints in Los Angeles, de Toth was given an oral contract as a director at Columbia from which he ultimately extricated himself by litigation. As he preferred working as an independent, de Toth had no “A” budgets early in his career and had to supplement his directing income with writing assignments, often uncredited.

After being introduced to Westerns by John Ford, de Toth worked mostly in that genre throughout the 1950s, often bringing elements of noir style into those films.

Oscar Nomination

In 1951 he received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing (with co-writer William Bowers) for the story filmed as The Gunfighter. While largely remembered as the director of the earliest and most successful 3-D film, House of Wax, he also was responsible for two of the noir cycle’s most unusual examples: Pitfall and Crime Wave.

His wives included:  Veronica Lake, to whom he was married from 1944 until 1952. They had a son, Andre Anthony Michael De Toth (October 25, 1945-February 24, 1991 Olympia, Washington) and a daughter, Diana De Toth (born October 16, 1948). They divorced in 1952.

Marie Louise Stratton, to whom he was married from 1953 until 1982, when they divorced. This marriage also produced two children, Michelle and Nicolas.

He was married to Ann Green at the time of his death; they had no children together.

In 1996, he published his memoir, Fragments – Portraits from the Inside (London: Faber and Faber, 1994).

On October 27, 2002, de Toth died from an aneurysm.



Passport to Suez (1943)

None Shall Escape (1944)

Dark Waters (1944)

Ramrod (1947)

Pitfall (1948)

Slattery’s Hurricane (1949)

Carson City (1952)

Springfield Rifle (1952)

Last of the Comanches (1953)

House of Wax (1953)

Thunder Over the Plains (1953)

Tanganyika (1954)

Crime Wave (1954)

The Bounty Hunter (1954)

Riding Shotgun (1955)

The Indian Fighter (1955)

Monkey on My Back (1957)

The Two-Headed Spy (1958)

Day of the Outlaw (1959)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) (second unit director only)

Play Dirty (1968)

Superman (1978) (second unit director only