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John Houseman (1902–1988)

Author of Run-through; a memoir

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Although considered a fine actor (he won an Academy Award in 1973), John Houseman's greatest contributions to American culture were as a director-producer, a collaborator with Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre, and as head of the acting program at the Juilliard School, where he influenced a whole generation of actors. Born Jacques Haussmann in Bucharest, Romania, where his Alsatian father ran a grain business, Houseman emigrated first to his mother's native Britain, where he was educated. In 1924, he moved to the USA, settling in New York City and taking the name John Houseman. The stock market crash of 1929 ruined his grain business, and he got a job with the Federal Theater Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It was in theater that he first met Orson Welles. They co-founded the Mercury Theatre in 1937 and worked together on the famous "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast in 1938. Houseman went on to produce and direct numerous plays, films, and three television series before devoting himself to teaching and playing character roles. He wrote three volumes of memoirs, Run-Through (1972), Front and Center (1979) and Final Dress (1983).
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