Oscar Directors: Seaton, George (The Country Girl)

George Seaton (1911-1979)

Born April 17, 1911 as George Stenius in South Bend, Indiana, Seaton moved to Detroit after graduating from college to work as an actor on radio station WXYZ.

John L. Barrett played The Lone Ranger on test broadcasts of the series in early January 1933, but when the program became part of the regular schedule, Seaton was cast in the title role.

In later years, he claimed to have devised the cry “Hi-yo, Silver” because he couldn’t whistle for his horse as the script required.

Seaton joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a contract writer in 1933. His first major screen credit was the Marx Brothers comedy A Day at the Races, in 1937.

In the early 1940s he joined 20th Century Fox, where he remained for the rest of the decade, writing scripts for Moon Over Miami, Coney Island, Charley’s Aunt, The Song of Bernadette, and others.

Seaton made his directorial debut with Diamond Horseshoe in 1945. ¬†After 1945, he was credited as both screenwriter and director for most of his films, including The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, Miracle on 34th Street, Apartment for Peggy, Chicken Every Sunday, The Big Lift, For Heaven’s Sake, Little Boy Lost, The Country Girl, and The Proud and Profane.

But Not Goodbye, Seaton’s 1944 Broadway debut as a playwright, closed after only 23 performances. The text later was adapted for the 1946 film The Cockeyed Miracle by Karen DeWolf.

In 1967, he returned to Broadway to direct the Norman Krasna play, Love in E Flat, which was a critical and commercial flop.¬† The musical Here’s Love, adapted from his screenplay for Miracle on 34th Street by Meredith Willson, was more successful.

Seaton won the Oscar Award for Best Adapted Screenplay twice, for Miracle on 34th and for The Country Girl.

He was nominated for Oscars three additional times, including Best Director for The Country Girl.

Seaton received The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1961.

Seaton died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California on July 28, 1979.

Filmography

Diamond Horseshoe (1945)

Junior Miss (1945)

The Proud and Profane (1956)

Williamsburg: the Story of a Patriot (1956)

Teacher’s Pet (1958)

The Pleasure of His Company (1961)

The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)

The Hook (1963)

36 Hours (1964)

What’s So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968)

Airport (1970)

Showdown (1973)