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Frank Capra circa 1930s
Francesco Rosario Capra
May 18, 1897
Bisacquino, Sicily, Italy
|Died||September 3, 1991
La Quinta, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart failure|
|Resting place||Coachella Valley Public Cemetery|
|Other names||Frank Russell Capra|
|Alma mater||California Institute of Technology|
|Occupation||Film director, producer, writer|
Helen Howell (m. 1923; div. 1928)
Lucille Warner (m. 1932; d. 1984)
|Children||4, including Frank Capra Jr.|
|Relatives||Frank Capra III (grandson)|
Frank Russell Capra (born Francesco Rosario Capra; May 18, 1897 – September 3, 1991) was an Italian-American film director, producer and writer who became the creative force behind some of the major award-winning films of the 1930s and 1940s. Born in Italy and raised in Los Angeles from the age of five, his rags-to-riches story has led film historians such as Ian Freer to consider him the "American dream personified."
Capra became one of America's most influential directors during the 1930s, winning three Oscars as Best Director. Among his leading films were It Happened One Night (1934), You Can't Take It With You (1938), and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939); the former two of these won the Academy Award for Best Picture. During World War II, Capra served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and produced propaganda films, such as the Why We Fight series.
After World War II, Capra's career declined as his later films such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946), which flopped when it was first released, were critically derided as being "simplistic" or "overly idealistic". In succeeding decades, however, these films have been favorably reassessed. Outside of directing, Capra was active in the film industry, engaging in various political and social issues. He served as President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, worked alongside the Screenwriters Guild, and was head of the Directors Guild of America.
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