from the film A Star Is Born (1937).
Adolphe Jean Menjou|
February 18, 1890
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
October 29, 1963 (aged 73)|
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
Katherine Conn Tinsley
(m. 1920; div. 1927)
(m. 1928; div. 1934)
(m. 1934; his death)
Adolphe Jean Menjou (February 18, 1890 – October 29, 1963) was an American actor. His career spanned both silent films and talkies. He appeared in such films as Charlie Chaplin's A Woman of Paris, in which he played the lead role; Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory with Kirk Douglas; Ernst Lubitsch's The Marriage Circle; The Sheik with Rudolph Valentino; Morocco with Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper; and A Star Is Born with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. He was nominated for an Academy Award for The Front Page in 1931.
Menjou was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to a French father, Albert Menjou (1858–1917), and an Irish mother from Galway, Nora (née Joyce) (1869–1953). His brother, Henry Arthur Menjou (1891-1956), was a year younger. He was raised Roman Catholic, attended the Culver Military Academy, and graduated from Cornell University with a degree in engineering. Attracted to the vaudeville stage, he made his movie debut in 1916 in The Blue Envelope Mystery. During World War I, he served as a captain in the United States Army ambulance service. He trained in Pennsylvania before going overseas.
Menjou was married to Verree Teasdale from 1934 until his death on October 29, 1963, and had one adopted son. He was previously married to Kathryn Carver in 1928. They divorced in 1934. A prior marriage to Kathryn Conn Tinsley also ended in divorce.
Career and Stardom
Returning from the war, he became a star in such films as The Sheik and The Three Musketeers. When he starred in 1923's A Woman of Paris, he solidified the image of a well-dressed man-about-town, and was later voted the Best Dressed Man in America nine times. His career stalled with the coming of talkies, but in 1930, he starred in Morocco, with Marlene Dietrich. He was nominated for an Academy Award for The Front Page (1931).
Menjou was a staunch Republican who equated the Democratic Party with socialism. He supported the political ideology of Herbert Hoover's administration who rejected the belief that the federal government held responsibility for aiding the unemployed or that government should intervene to ameliorate social ills. Menjou confided to a friend that he feared that if a Democrat won the White House he "would raise taxes, destroy the value of the dollar," depriving him of a good portion of his wealth. He took precautions against this threat to his finances. "I've got gold stashed in safety deposit boxes all over town...they'll never get an ounce from me."  In 1944, he joined other celebrity Republicans at a rally in the Los Angeles Coliseum arranged by David O. Selznick in support of the Dewey–Bricker ticket as well as Governor Earl Warren of California, who would be Dewey's running mate in 1948. The gathering drew 93,000, with Cecil B. DeMille as the master of ceremonies and short speeches by Hedda Hopper and Walt Disney. Despite the good turnout at the rally, most Hollywood celebrities who took a public position sided with the Roosevelt–Truman ticket.
In 1947, Menjou cooperated with the House Committee on Un-American Activities in its hunt for communists in Hollywood. Menjou was a leading member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a group formed to oppose communist influence in Hollywood. Other members included John Wayne, Barbara Stanwyck (with whom he co-starred in Forbidden in 1932 and Golden Boy in 1939) and her husband, actor Robert Taylor.
Because of his political sympathies, Menjou came into conflict with actress Katharine Hepburn. Menjou appeared with her in the films Morning Glory, Stage Door, and State of the Union, which also starred Spencer Tracy. Hepburn was strongly opposed to co-operating with the McCarthy hearings. Their clashes were reportedly instant, and mutually cutting; Menjou said of Hepburn during the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigation into alleged communist infiltration, "Scratch a do-gooder, like Hepburn, and they'll yell, 'Pravda'." To this, Hepburn called Menjou, "Wisecracking, witty—a flag-waving superpatriot who invested his American dollars in Canadian bonds and had a thing about Communists." Unsurprisingly, it was reported by William Mann in his biography of Hepburn, Kate, that during the filming of State of the Union, she and Menjou only spoke to each other when required to in the film script.
Later years and death
Menjou ended his film career with such roles as French General George Broulard in Stanley Kubrick's 1957 film Paths of Glory.
In 1955, Menjou played Dr. Elliott Harcourt in "Barrier of Silence", episode 19 of the first season of the television series Science Fiction Theatre. He guest starred as Fitch, with Orson Bean and Sue Randall as John and Ellen Monroe, in a 1961 episode, "The Secret Life of James Thurber", based on the works of the American humorist James Thurber, of the CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson. He also appeared in the Thanksgiving episode of NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford, which aired on November 22, 1956. His final film role as the town curmudgeon in Disney's Pollyanna was one of his best known roles.
In 1948, Menjou published his autobiography, It Took Nine Tailors.
Because of Menjou's public support of McCarthy's hunt for communists, the anti-imperialistic propaganda of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) used to display their western opponents typically with a Menjou-style moustache. Also, in the GDR it was rated as a statement of political opposition to trim one's moustache that way. This kind of beard became a general symbol for the demimonde, criminal Westler and in Germany it is still called Menjou-Bärtchen (Menjou beardlet). In German film and theatre play dubious gentlemen, opportunists, corrupt politicians, fraudulent persuaders, marriage impostors or other charming criminals are often equipped with such a Menjou-Bärtchen and in real life it is linked by prejudice and self-fulfilling prophecy to occupations like car trader, traveling salesman, insurance agent, pimp, investment consultant or estate agent.
In "The Bob Hope Show", the tenth episode of the thirteenth season of The Jack Benny Program, after announcing he won the American Tailors Association award for being the "Best Dressed Male Performer in Television", Jack says "and Rochester, Rochester says I was silly buying Adolphe Menjou's old clothes."
In "Irresistible Andy", the fifth episode of the first season of The Andy Griffith Show, Sheriff Andy Taylor compliments Barney Fife upon seeing him wearing his signature Salt and Pepper suit for the first time and calls him "The Adolphe Menjou of Mayberry."
In "Abyssinia, Henry", the final episode of the third season of M*A*S*H*, Trapper John McIntyre compliments Henry Blake on his custom-made, pin-striped, double breasted suit by saying, "Henry, that suit is really you," to which Hawkeye Pierce responds, "If you're Adolphe Menjou."
In Honor Thy Mother, the thirteenth episode of the ninth season of Cheers (aired January 3, 1991) where Carla Tortelli's mother pressures Carla to follow the family tradition and name one of her sons with her father's first name and her mother's maiden name, resulting in the name Benito Mussolini, Rebecca Howe quips to the bar "Well, it could have been worse. What if her father's name had been Adolf?" to which Woody Boyd adds "Yeah, and her mother's maiden name could have been Menjou. Phew! She really dodged a bullet there."
In James Wilcox's novel, North Gladiola (1997), the heroine's husband is thus described: "Mr Coco's narrow brown eyes—they had once reminded her of Adolphe Menjou, whom she used to have a crush on—dimmed with resentment."
In Gilmore Girls episode "The Incredible Sinking Lorelais" (season 4, episode 14), Trix Gilmore (Marion Ross) compliments her son Richard (Edward Herrmann) on his newly grown moustache by saying, "It makes you look like Adolphe Menjou." Richard's wife Emily (Kelly Bishop) retorted under her breath, "Or Adolphe Menjou's cocaine dealer."
One of the most famous photographs by the Avant-garde photographer Umbo is a picture he titled "Menjou En Gros" ca. 1928.
- The Acid Test (1914, Short) as Extra (uncredited)
- The Man Behind the Door (1914) as Ringmaster (uncredited)
- A Parisian Romance (1916) as Julianai
- Nearly a King (1916) as Baron
- The Price of Happiness (1916) as Howard Neal
- The Habit of Happiness (1916) as Society Man (uncredited)
- The Crucial Test (1916) as Count Nicolai
- The Devil at His Elbow (1916) as Wilfred Carleton
- The Reward of Patience (1916) as Paul Dunstan
- Manhattan Madness (1916) as Minor Role (uncredited)
- The Scarlet Runner (1916) as Bit Part
- The Kiss (1916) as Pennington
- The Blue Envelope Mystery (1916) as Bit Part (uncredited)
- The Valentine Girl (1917) as Joe Winder
- Wild and Woolly (1917) (uncredited)
- The Amazons (1917) (uncredited)
- An Even Break (1917) as Bit Part (uncredited)
- The Moth (1917) as Teddy Marbridge / The Husband
- What Happened to Rosa (1920) as Reporter Friend of Dr. Drew (uncredited)
- The Faith Healer (1921) as Dr. Littlefield
- Courage (1921) as Bruce Ferguson
- Through the Back Door (1921) as James Brewster
- The Three Musketeers (1921) as Louis XIII
- Queenie (1921) as Count Michael
- The Sheik (1921) as Dr. Raoul de St. Hubert
- Head Over Heels (1922) as Sterling
- Arabian Love (1922) as Captain Fortine (uncredited)
- Is Matrimony a Failure? (1922) as Dudley King
- The Fast Mail (1922) as Cal Baldwin
- The Eternal Flame (1922) as Duc de Langeais
- Pink Gods (1922) as Louis Barney
- Clarence (1922) as Hubert Stein
- Singed Wings (1922) as Bliss Gordon
- The World's Applause (1923) as Robert Townsend
- Bella Donna (1923) as Mr. Chepstow
- Rupert of Hentzau (1923) as Count Rischenheim
- A Woman of Paris (1923) as Pierre Revel
- The Spanish Dancer (1923) as Don Salluste
- The Marriage Circle (1924) as Prof. Josef Stock
- Shadows of Paris (1924) as Georges de Croy, His Secretary
- The Marriage Circle (1924) as Bob Canfield
- Broadway After Dark (1924) as Ralph Norton
- For Sale (1924) as Joseph Hudley
- Broken Barriers (1924) as Tommy Kemp
- Sinners in Silk (1924) as Arthur Merrill
- Open All Night (1924) as Edmund Durverne
- The Fast Set (1924) as Ernest Steel
- Forbidden Paradise (1924) as Chancellor
- A Kiss in the Dark (1925) as Walter Grenham
- The Swan (1925) as Albert von Kersten-Rodenfels
- Are Parents People? (1925) as Mr. Hazlitt
- Lost: A Wife (1925) as Tony Hamilton
- The King on Main Street (1925) as King Serge IV of Molvania
- The Grand Duchess and the Waiter (1926) as Albert Durant
- Fascinating Youth (1926) as Himself
- A Social Celebrity (1926) as Max Haber
- The Ace of Cads (1926) as Chappel Maturin
- The Sorrows of Satan (1926) as Prince Lucio de Rimanez
- Blonde or Brunette (1927) as Henri Martel
- Evening Clothes (1927) as Lucien d'Artois
- Service for Ladies (1927) as Albert Leroux
- A Gentleman of Paris (1927) as Marquis de Marignan
- Serenade (1927) as Franz Rossi
- A Night of Mystery (1928) as Captain Ferreol
- His Tiger Wife (1928) as Henri
- His Private Life (1928, with Kathryn Carver) as Georges St. Germain
- Marquis Preferred (1929) as Marquis d'Argenville
- Fashions in Love (1929) as Paul de Remy
- Soyons gais (1930) as Bob Brown
- Mon gosse de père (1930) as Jérome
- Amor audaz (1930) as Albert d'Arlons
- Mysterious Mr. Parkes (1930) as Courtenay Parkes
- Morocco (1930) as Monsieur La Bessiere
- New Moon (1930) as Governor Boris Brusiloff
- The Easiest Way (1931) as William Brockton
- Men Call It Love (1931) as Tony
- The Front Page (1931) as Walter Burns
- The Great Lover (1931) as Jean Paurel
- The Parisian (1931) as Jérome Rocheville
- Friends and Lovers (1931) as Captain Geoffrey Roberts
- Prestige (1931) as Capt. Remy Bandoin
- Wir schalten um auf Hollywood (1931) as Himself
- Forbidden (1932) as Bob
- Wife Beware (1932, first film ever shown at a drive-in) as Maj. Carey Liston
- Bachelor's Affairs (1932) as Andrew Hoyt
- Diamond Cut Diamond (1932) as Dan McQueen
- The Night Club Lady (1932) as Police Commissioner Thatcher Colt
- A Farewell to Arms (1932) as Rinaldi
- The Circus Queen Murder (1933) as Thatcher Colt
- Morning Glory (1933) as Louis Easton
- The Worst Woman in Paris? (1933) as Adolphe Ballou
- Convention City (1933) as T.R. (Ted) Kent
- Easy to Love (1934) as John
- Journal of a Crime (1934) as Paul Moliet
- The Trumpet Blows (1934) as Pancho Montes / Pancho Gomez
- Little Miss Marker (1934) as Sorrowful Jones
- The Great Flirtation (1934) as Stephan Karpath
- The Human Side (1934) as Gregory Sheldon
- The Mighty Barnum (1934) as Bailey Walsh
- Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935) as Nicolai Nicoleff
- Broadway Gondolier (1935) as Professor Eduardo de Vinci
- The Milky Way (1936) as Gabby Sloan
- Sing, Baby, Sing (1936) as Bruce Farraday
- Wives Never Know (1936) as J. Hugh Ramsey
- One in a Million (1936) as Tad Spencer
- A Star Is Born (1937) as Oliver Niles
- Café Metropole (1937) as Monsieur Victor
- One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937) as John Cardwell
- Stage Door (1937) as Anthony Powell
- The Goldwyn Follies (1938) as Oliver Merlin
- Letter of Introduction (1938) as John Mannering
- Thanks for Everything (1938) as J. B. Harcourt
- King of the Turf (1939) as Jim Mason
- Golden Boy (1939) as Tom Moody
- The Housekeeper's Daughter (1939) as Deakon Maxwell
- That's Right—You're Wrong (1939) as Stacey Delmore
- Turnabout (1940) as Phil Manning
- A Bill of Divorcement (1940) as Hilary Fairfield
- Road Show (1941) as Colonel Carleton Carroway
- Father Takes a Wife (1941) as Senior
- Roxie Hart (1942) as Billy Flynn
- Syncopation (1942) as George Latimer
- You Were Never Lovelier (1942) as Eduardo Acuña
- Hi Diddle Diddle (1943) as Col. Hector Phyffe
- Sweet Rosie O'Grady (1943) as Tom Moran
- Step Lively (1944) as Wagner
- Man Alive (1945) as Kismet
- Heartbeat (1946) as Ambassador
- The Bachelor's Daughters (1946) as Alexander Moody
- I'll Be Yours (1947) as J. Conrad Nelson
- Mr. District Attorney (1947) as Craig Warren
- The Hucksters (1947) as Mr. Kimberly
- State of the Union (1948) as Jim Conover
- My Dream Is Yours (1949) as Thomas Hutchins
- Dancing in the Dark (1949) as Melville Crossman
- To Please a Lady (1950) as Gregg
- The Tall Target (1951) as Colonel Caleb Jeffers
- Across the Wide Missouri (1951) as Pierre
- The Sniper (1952) as Police Lt. Frank Kafka
- Man on a Tightrope (1953) as Fesker
- Timberjack (1955) as 'Sweetwater' Tilton
- The Ambassador's Daughter (1956) as Senator Jonathan Cartwright
- Bundle of Joy (1956) as J.B. Merlin
- The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957) as Arthur Martin
- Paths of Glory (1957) as Gen. George Broulard
- I Married a Woman (1958) as Frederick W. Sutton
- Pollyanna (1960) as Mr. Pendergast
|1946||Screen Guild Players||Experiment Perilous|
|1946||This Is Hollywood||The Bachelor's Daughters|
- Obituary Variety, October 30, 1963, page 71.
- Ed Sullivan (February 11, 1940). "Looking at Hollywood with Ed Sullivan". Chicago Daily Tribune. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
- Onofrio, Jan (January 1, 1999). "Pennsylvania Biographical Dictionary". Somerset Publishers, Inc. Retrieved December 30, 2017 – via Google Books.
- Brumburgh, Gary. "Adolphe Menjou". FullMovieReview. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
- Wilson, Victoria, " A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True, 1907–1940," Simon & Schuster, 2013, p. 266, ISBN 978-0684831688
- David M. Jordan, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011), pp. 231–232
- "Hollywood Is a Main Red Center, Adolphe Menjou Tells House Body. Calls Hollywood A Center Of Reds". The New York Times. May 16, 1947. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
Adolphe Menjou, a veteran actor, told a House Un-American Activities subcommittee today that "Hollywood is one of the main centers of Communist activity in America." ...
- Maltin, Leonard (2010). "State of the Union (1948)". Turner Classic Movies. Leonard Maltin Classic Movie Guide. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "The Ford Show Episode Guide". Ernieford.com. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
- "Dapper Adolphe Menjou Dies After Long Illness". Associated Press. October 29, 1963. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
He had been suffering from jaundice for some time. Death came at his home in Beverly Hills. With him were his third wife, the former Veree Teasdale, ...
- Adolphe Menjou at Find a Grave
- "Adolphe Menjou - Hollywood Walk of Fame". Walkoffame.com. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
- "Gilmore Girls - Transcript 79". Crazy-internet-people.com. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
- Umbo (1980) [1928 negative]. Menjou en gros. Philadelphia Museum of Art (Photograph). Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- Lewis, Mary Beth. "Ten Best First Facts", in Car and Driver, 1/88, p.92.
- Connic, Jennifer (June 6, 2014). "PHOTOS: Happy birthday, drive-in movies, a N.J. invention". NJ.com. New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "The Victoria Advocate - Google News Archive Search". News.google.com. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
- "Bennett, Brent, Menjou Star on "Screen Guild"". Harrisburg Telegraph. October 12, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved October 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "New Star". Harrisburg Telegraph. November 16, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved September 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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