1939 in Film & Television

Events in Film & TV


Film release premierFilm Premier

Feb 10 "Stagecoach" western film directed by John Ford, starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne, premieres in Miami

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 14 Victor Fleming replaces George Cukor as director of film "Gone With the Wind"

Director Victor Fleming
Director
Victor Fleming
  • Feb 15 Lillian Hellman's play "The Little Foxes" premieres in New York City

Film tv awardsFilm Awards

Feb 23 11th Academy Awards: "You Can’t Take It With You", Spencer Tracy & Bette Davis wins

Film release premierFilm Premier

Mar 24 "Wuthering Heights" based on the novel by Emily Brontë, directed by William Wyler and starring Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier, premieres in Los Angeles

Film release premierFilm Release

Mar 31 "The Hound of Baskervilles", starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson for the first time, is released

  • Apr 17 SN Behrman's "No Time for Comedy" premieres in NYC

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 30 NBC/RCA 1st public TV demo with FDR at opening of NY World's Fair

32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
32nd US President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • May 1 Batman first appears in Detective Comics #27
  • May 17 1st televised baseball game is broadcast on NBC, with Princeton defeating Columbia 2-1
  • Jun 10 MGM cartoon character Barney Bear debuts
  • Jun 12 Shooting begins on Paramount Pictures' Dr. Cyclops, the first horror film photographed in three-strip Technicolor.
  • Jul 7 "The Rules of the Game", French film directed by Jean Renoir, starring Nora Gregor and Paulette Dubost, premieres in Paris

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 13 Frank Sinatra makes his recording debut

Singer and Actor Frank Sinatra
Singer and Actor
Frank Sinatra
  • Aug 6 1st broadcast of "Dinah Shore Show" on NBC-radio

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 8 7th Venice Film Festival opens with a United States boycott due to Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italian regime

Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini
Italian Dictator
Benito Mussolini

Film release premierFilm Premier

Aug 15 "The Wizard of Oz", American musical fantasy film directed by Victor Fleming and King Vidor, premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, starring Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Man), Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion), Frank Morgan (Wizard), Billie Burke (Glinda), and Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 11 Gertrude Lawrence's "Skylark" premieres in NYC

Actress and Musical Performer Gertrude Lawrence
Actress and Musical Performer
Gertrude Lawrence

Film release premierFilm Release

Oct 17 "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur, is released

Film Director Frank Capra
Film Director
Frank Capra
Actor James Stewart
Actor
James Stewart
  • Nov 6 WRGB TV channel 6 in Schenectady-Alby-Troy, NY (CBS) 1st broadcast

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Nov 9 "Ninotchka" with Greta Garbo premieres

Actress Greta Garbo
Actress
Greta Garbo

Film release premierFilm Premier

Dec 15 "Gone With the Wind", drama film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, premieres in Atlanta (Best Picture 1940, inflation not adjusted highest-grossing film of all time)

Film release premierFilm Release

Dec 30 "Of Mice and Men", starring Burgess Meredith as George, Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie, is released


Birthdays in Film & TV

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 140

  • Jan 1 Michèle Mercier, French actress
  • Jan 9 Susannah York, English actress (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Superman), born in London, England
  • Jan 10 Sal Mineo, American actor (Exodus, Rebel Without a Cause), born in NYC, New York
  • Jan 17 Maury Povich, TV host (Current Affair, Maury)/Mr Connie Chung
  • Jan 23 Sonny Chiba, Japanese actor and martial artist
  • Jan 23 Arlene Golonka, American actress
  • Feb 5 Jane Bryant Quinn, newscaster/financial writer (Everyone's Money Book), born in Niagara Falls, New York
  • Feb 6 Mike Farrell, American actor, director and activist (M*A*S*H, Battered, Patch Adams), born in Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Feb 9 Janet Suzman, South African actress (Dry White Season, Nuns on the Run)
  • Feb 12 John D Hancock, American actor and director (Black Marble, Traxx, Houston Knights), born in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Feb 14 Michael Rudman, English theater director and producer (Donkeys' Years)
  • Feb 17 Mary Ann Mobley, American model/actress (Miss America-1959, Diff'rent Strokes), Biloxi Ms, (d. 2014)
  • Feb 18 Petronella CM "Carletta" Banning, actress (Potasch & Perlemoer)
  • Feb 19 Gwen Taylor, British actress (Life of Brian, Sob Sisters, Screaming)
  • Feb 21 Richard Beymer, Avoca IA, actor (West Side Story, Diary of Anne Frank)
  • Feb 25 Marisa Mell, Graz Austria, actress (Masquerade, Casanova '70)
  • Feb 26 Josephine Tewson, English actress
  • Mar 2 Barbara Luna, American actress (5 Weeks in a Balloon, Gentle Savage), born in NYC, New York
  • Mar 4 Paula Prentiss, [Ragusa] San Ant Tx, actress (Parallax View, He & She)
  • Mar 4 Carlos Vereza, Brazilian actor
  • Mar 5 Samantha Eggar, actress (Collector, Dr Doolittle) [or May 3], born in London, England
  • Mar 5 Norman Seeff, South African-bon American photographer and filmmaker, born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Mar 6 David Spielberg, Weslaco Tx, actor (Jessica Novak, The Practice)
  • Mar 14 Bertrand Blier, novelist/director (Going Places), born in Paris, France
  • Mar 14 Raymond J. Barry, American actor
  • Mar 21 Kathleen Widdoes, actress (Without a Trace), born in Wilmington, Delaware
  • Mar 23 Bert Berdis, Pitts, comedian (Tim Conway Show)
  • Mar 26 Phillip R Allen, Pitts, actor (Harry-Hardy Boys Mystery, Mitch-Alice)
  • Apr 1 Ali MacGraw, Pound Ridge NY, actress (Love Story, Goodbye Columbus)
  • Apr 3 Catalino "Lino" Brocka, Filipino film director (Macho Dancer, Jaguar), born in Pilar, Sorsogon, Philippines (d. 1991)
  • Apr 3 François de Roubaix, French film score composer, born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France (d. 1975)
  • Apr 5 David Winters, American choreographer and director (Steve Allen Comedy Hour), born in London, England
  • Apr 7 David Frost, Tenterdon England, TV host (That Was the Week That Was), (d. 2013)

Person of interestFrancis Ford Coppola

Apr 7 Francis Ford Coppola, American director (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now), born in Detroit, Michigan

  • Apr 9 Michael Learned, actress (Olivia-Waltons, Nurse), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Apr 11 Louise Lasser, American actress (Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!), born in NYC, New York
  • Apr 13 Paul Sorvino, actor (Chiefs, Dick Tracy)
  • Apr 16 Donald MacCormick, British broadcaster
  • Apr 16 Boris Dvornik, Croatian actor (d. 2008.)
  • Apr 19 Ellen Weston, American actress (Betty-SWAT), born in NYC, New York
  • Apr 20 Peter S. Beagle, American novelist and screenwriter (The Last Unicorn), born in NYC, New York
  • Apr 22 Jason Miller, actor and writer (Exorcist, Light of Day), born in Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Apr 23 David Birney, American actor (Brigette Loves Bernie, St Elsewhere), born in Washington, D.C.
  • Apr 23 Lee Majors [Harvey Lee Yeary], American film and TV actor ($6,000,000 Man, The Fall Guy), born in Wyandotte, Michigan
  • Apr 27 Judy Carne, English comedienne and actress (Laugh-In, Love on a Rooftop), born in Northampton, England (d. 2015)

Person of interestMax Robinson

May 1 Max Robinson, 1st African American network TV anchor (ABC), born in Richmond, Virginia (d. 1988)

1st African-American Network TV Anchor Max Robinson
1st African-American Network TV Anchor
Max Robinson
  • May 1 Ray Aranha, actor (Nick-Married People), born in Miami, Florida
  • May 4 Paul Gleason, American actor (Breakfast Club, Die Hard), born in Jersey City, New Jersey (d. 2006)
  • May 7 Marco St John, American actor (Rayford-Ball Four), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • May 9 Pierre Desproges, French humorist (d. 1988)
  • May 13 Harvey Keitel, actor (Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs)
  • May 19 17th earl of Pembroke, English landowner/director (Emily)
  • May 19 James Fox, actor (The Servant), born in London, England
  • May 19 Nancy Kwan, Hong Kong-born American actress (Flower Drum Song, World of Suzie Wong), born in Hong Kong
  • May 25 Dixie Carter, TN, actress (Designing Women, Edge of Night)

Person of interestIan McKellen

May 25 Sir Ian McKellen, English film and theatre actor (Lord of the Rings, X-Men), born in Burnley Lancashire

  • May 26 Brent Musburger, sportscaster (CBS-TV)
  • May 30 Michael J Pollard, actor (Bonny & Clyde, Roxanne), born in Passaic, New Jersey
  • Jun 1 Cleavon Little, actor (Blazing Saddles, Toy Soldiers), born in Chickasha Oklahoma (d. 1992)
  • Jun 8 Bernie Casey, American actor (Boxcar Bertha, Rent-a-Cop), born in Wyco, West Virginia (d. 2017)
  • Jun 10 Alexandra Stewart, actress (In Praise of Older Women), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • Jun 11 Christina Crawford, American actress and author (Mommie Dearest), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jun 27 R. D. Burman, Indian film score composer (1942: A Love Story), born in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (d. 1994)
  • Jun 30 John Fortune [John C. Wood], English satirist and comedian (Bremner, Bird and Fortune), born in Bristol, England (d. 2013)
  • Jul 1 Frank Parker, American actor (Days of our Lives, Never Too Young), born in Darby, Pennsylvania
  • Jul 1 Karen Black, American actress (5 Easy Pieces, Pyx), (d. 2013)
  • Jul 4 Ed Bernard, American actor (Joe-Police Woman, Jim-White Shadow), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Jul 10 Lawrence Pressman, American actor (Man From Atlantis, Hellstrom Chronicle), born in Cynthiana, Kentucky
  • Jul 12 Phillip Adams, Australian humanist and broadcaster (Late Night Live), born in Maryborough, Victoria
  • Jul 14 Sid Haig [Sidney Mosesian], American actor (House of 1000 Corpses, Jason of Star Command), born in Fresno, California
  • Jul 15 Patrick Wayne, actor (Rounder, Shirley, Beyond Atlantis), born in Los Angeles, California
  • Jul 16 Corin Redgrave, Brtish actor (Excalibur, A Man For All Seasons), born in London (d. 2010)
  • Jul 16 Mary Parkinson, British broadcaster, born in Doncaster, West Riding
  • Jul 17 Andrée Champagne, French Canadian actress and politician, born in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
  • Jul 22 Gila Almagor, Israeli actress
  • Jul 27 Irv Cross, NFL sportscaster (CBS-TV)
  • Jul 27 James Victor, Puerto Rico, actor (Boulevard Night, Streets of LA)
  • Jul 30 Peter Bogdanovich, director and producer (Last Picture Show), born in Kingston, New York
  • Jul 31 France Nuyen, Vietnamese-French actress (St Elsewhere, Diamond Head), born in Marseilles, France
  • Aug 2 Wes Craven, American film director (Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 2015)
  • Aug 4 Frank Vincent, American actor (The Sopranos), born in North Adams, Massachusetts (d. 2017)
  • Aug 7 Verna Bloom, Lynn MA, actress (After Hours, Badge 373)
  • Aug 7 Anjanette Comer, American actress (Baby, Lepke), born in Dawson, Texas
  • Aug 10 Kate O'Mara, Leicaster England, actress (Caress Morell-Dynasty, AbFab)
  • Aug 16 Carol Shelley, actress (Gwendolyn Pidgeon-Odd Couple), born in London, England
  • Aug 17 Anthony Valentine, British actor (Colditz), born in Blackburn, Lancashire (d. 2015)
  • Aug 18 Molly Bee, American actress (Pinky Lee Show), born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (d. 2009)
  • Aug 18 Harald Heide-Steen Jr., Norwegian actor and comedian, born in Oslo, Norway (d. 2008)
  • Aug 20 Fernando Poe Jr., Filipino actor and politician (d. 2004)
  • Aug 21 Clarence Williams III, American actor (Mod Squad, 52 Pick Up, Purple Rain), born in NYC, New York
  • Aug 22 Valerie Harper, American actress (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda), born in Suffern, New York
  • Aug 25 Liselot Beekmeyer, Dutch actress (Issue Blum), born in Schiedam, Netherlands
  • Aug 28 Cassie Mackin, newswoman (NBC TV)
  • Aug 30 Elizabeth Ashley, [Cole], Ocala Florida, actress (Coma, Evening Shade)
  • Aug 30 John Peel, English DJ and Broadcaster (BBC Radio 1), born in Heswell, Merseyside (d. 2004)
  • Sep 1 Lily Tomlin, American comedienne and actress (9 to 5, Laugh-in, All of Me), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Sep 5 Donna Anderson [Knaflich], American actress (On the Beach), born in Gunnison, Gunnison County Colorado
  • Sep 5 George Lazenby, Australian actor (OHMSS-James Bond), born in Goulburn, Australia
  • Sep 10 Greg Mullavey, actor (Tom-Mary Hartman, Rituals), born in Buffalo, New York
  • Sep 13 Richard Kiel, American actor (So Fine, Jaws-Moonraker, Skidoo), born in Detroit, Michigan, (d. 2014)

Weddings in Film & TV


HeartWedding of Interest

Feb 4 Singer Frank Sinatra (23) marries 1st wife Nancy Barbato

Singer and Actor Frank Sinatra
Singer and Actor
Frank Sinatra
  • Apr 22 Actor and naval officer of World War II Douglas Fairbanks Jr (29) weds Huntington Hartford's former wife Mary Lee Hartford

HeartWedding of Interest

Aug 4 Philosopher of communication theory Marshall McLuhan (28) weds teacher and aspiring actress Corinne Lewis (27)

Philosopher of Communication Theory Marshall McLuhan
Philosopher of Communication Theory
Marshall McLuhan

HeartWedding of Interest

Aug 14 "A Star Is Born" actress Janet Gaynor (32) weds MGM costume designer Adrian (36)

Actress Janet Gaynor
Actress
Janet Gaynor

HeartWedding of Interest

Aug 20 "Rebecca" actress Joan Fontaine (21) weds actor Brian Aherne (37)

Actress Joan Fontaine
Actress
Joan Fontaine

HeartWedding of Interest

Nov 4 Actress and comedian Phyllis Diller (22) weds inspector Sherwood Diller in Covington, Kentucky

Comedienne and Actress Phyllis Diller
Comedienne and Actress
Phyllis Diller

HeartWedding of Interest

Nov 19 Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio (24) weds "Freshies" actress Dorothy Arnold at St. Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco

Baseball Player Joe DiMaggio
Baseball Player
Joe DiMaggio

Divorces in Film & TV


Broken heartDivorce of Interest

Oct 11 Actor Jackie Coogan (24) divorces actress Betty Grable (22) after 2 years of marriage


Deaths in Film & TV

  • Jan 10 Jameson Thomas, British actor (Piccadilly, Farmer's Wife), dies from tuberculosis at 50
  • Apr 18 Theo Mann, actress (Pink Bernd, Hedda Gabler), dies at 88
  • Jun 9 Owen Moore, Irish actor (She Done Him Wrong), commits suicide at 52
  • Jun 18 Frans "Sas" van Aerschot, Flemish operetta actor (Paljas), dies at 73
  • Sep 5 Cornelis J "Cor" van Ast, Dutch actor and director (Ghost Hotel, Two Boys), dies at 67
  • Sep 24 Carl Laenmie, film producer, dies
  • Oct 28 Alice Brady, American actress (My Man Godfrey, Gay Divorcee), dies at 46
  • Nov 12 Oscar [Bachigaloupi] Tourniaire, Dutch actor and director (Pink Kate), dies at 59
  • Nov 13 George Nicholls Jr, actor (Finishing School), dies at 42
  • Dec 12 Douglas Fairbanks, American actor (The Mark of Zorro, 3 Musketeers, Robin Hood), dies from a heart attack at 56
  • Dec 19 Willem Benoy, Flemish actor and director (The White), dies at 57