Ida Lupino was born on February 4 in Herne Hill, London
Lupino wrote her first play at the age of 7
ENROLLED IN ACTING SCHOOL
Lupino enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and appeared in her first film, The Love Race
END OF FILMAKERS
Lupino and her husband closed their independent company
Lupino directed an episode of The Twilight Zone called “The Masks”
Lupino died of a stroke at the age of 77
1950s Hollywood’s Only Woman Director
Ida Lupino worked regularly as an actress and was in demand throughout the 1940s. While she wasn’t a major star, she was critically acclaimed for her direct acting style. The thing was she and studio boss Jack Warner, at Warner Bros., were often at odds. She was suspended multiple times by Jack Warner because she refused roles that she felt were “beneath her dignity as an actress.”
A Silver Lining
The suspensions came with a silver lining. She used the time she wasn’t acting to learn the art of directing by watching directors and editors at Warner Bros. and asking lots of questions. In time she left the studios altogether, and she and her husband formed an independent company, The Filmakers [sic], to create social issue films.
One of her first films, called Not Wanted was about out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Not Wanted received major news coverage and Lupino was invited to discuss the film with Eleanor Roosevelt on a radio show.
Hollywood TV Director
The Filmakers made 12 films and for reasons unknown closed shop in 1955. Lupino continued to act and direct throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, mostly for television audiences. Her directing credits were for TV shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller, The Twilight Zone, Have Gun – Will Travel, Honey West, The Donna Reed Show, Gilligan’s Island, 77 Sunset Strip, The Rifleman, The Virginian, Sam Benedict, The Untouchables, Hong Kong, The Fugitive and Bewitched.
The Twilight Zone
She’s been recognized as the only woman to direct episodes of The Twilight Zone (“The Masks”) and the only person to have worked as both director and actress in an episode (“The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine”). Towards the end of her career, Lupino pointed out that only powerful actresses or writers have the chance to work in Hollywood and that she wished more women would be hired as directors or writers.
Did You Know?
- The Lupino family can trace its theater roots to 1662 England.
- In 1933, Ida got a part for which her mother had auditioned.
- Lupino composed Aladdin’s Suite, which was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 1937.
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