Paul Muni’s film career consisted of acting in only twenty-three films, yet the Academy Award winner is ranked by many as one of the finest actors in the history of Hollywood.
Few people can forget Muni’s performances in Scarface (1932), I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932), The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)—for which he won the Best Actor Academy Award—The Good Earth (1937) and The Life of Emile Zola (1937).
A product of the Yiddish Art Theatre, Muni was a private man, and even his friends, and contemporary actors such as George Raft, Luise Rainer, Bette Davis, Gene Tierney, and Anne Baxter, were not close to him. Directors found him difficult because he insisted on developing his own characterizations without their help. His artistic battles with studio boss Jack Warner resulted in his tearing up a lucrative Warner Bros. contract. His film and stage fortunes ebbed for nearly two decades, but his spectacular return to Broadway in Inherit the Wind (1955) ensured that his legacy would stand the test of time.
Expanded edition (first published 1974). Illustrated with over 150 photos.