1940 in Film & Television History

Events in Film & TV

  • Mar 21 "Rebecca" based on the book by Daphne du Maurier, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine premieres in Miami, Florida (Oscar - Best Picture 1941)
  • Mar 23 1st radio broadcast of "Truth or Consequences" on CBS
  • Jul 20 Billboard publishes its 1st singles record chart - "I'll Never Smile Again" by Tommy Dorsey, with vocal by Frank Sinatra is #1
  • Jul 27 Bugs Bunny, Warner Bros. cartoon character created by Tex Avery, Bob Givens (Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series), first debuts in "Wild Hare"
  • Oct 30 "One Night in the Tropics", first film for Abbott and Costello, premieres in Paterson, New Jersey
  • Nov 13 Walt Disney's animated film "Fantasia", starring Leopold Stokowski, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Mickey Mouse, and ballet dancing hippopotamuses, premieres at the Broadway Theatre, New York City
  • Dec 26 "The Philadelphia Story" film directed by George Cukor, based on the Broadway play of the same name, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart, is released (Academy Awards Best Actor 1941)
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Film & TV Awards in 1940

Weddings in Film & TV

  • Jan 26 Actor Ronald Reagan (28) weds Academy Award-winning actress Jane Wyman (23) at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather church in Glendale, California
  • Feb 13 American actress Lana Turner (19) weds American bandleader Artie Shaw (29) in a Las Vegas elopement; divorce after 4 months
  • Mar 7 Comedian Oliver Hardy (48) marries film assistant Virginia Lucille Jones (30)

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Actors and Actresses Who Died in 1940

  • Feb 2 Vsevolod Meyerhold [Karl Kasimir Theodor], Russian theatrical director and actor (Houligan), executed during the Great Purge at 65
  • Mar 1 Josef Swickard, German actor (The Wizard of Oz; Lost City; A Tale of Two Cities), dies at 73
  • Mar 10 Louis de Vries, Dutch actor (Blokkade, Ghetto, Merchant of Venice), dies at 68
  • Apr 9 Mrs Patrick Campbell, English actress (Outcast Lady, Riptide), dies
  • May 25 Joe De Grasse, Canadian film director, dies at 67

More Deaths in Film & TV