Best Known For
Dorothy Arzner was a pioneer in the film industry, becoming one of the first women directors of feature films and the first woman to join the Directors Guild of America.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
During the 1930s, Dorothy Arzner was the only female director working. Despite the difficulties and resistance she encountered as a woman in a male-dominated field, she went to make more several films with the likes of Katharine Hepburn in Christopher Strong (1933) and Joan Crawford in The Bride Wore Red (1937). She also rigged up the first boom microphone and is credited with its invention.
Director, scriptwriter, and inventor. Born on January 3, 1900, in San Francisco, California. Dorothy Arzner was a pioneer in the film industry. She became one of the early female directors. Growing up, Arzner dreamed of becoming a doctor. She even went as far as spending two years as a pre-med student at the University of South California. But Arzner's dream changed later to filmmaking. Arzner worked her way up to director through a variety of positions, including script typist, film editor, and screenwriter.
Dorothy Arzner made her directorial debut with 1927's Fashions for Women. During the making of one of her next pictures, The Wild Party (1929), Arzner came up with a clever invention. This film starred famed silent picture star Clara Bow and Fredric March. To help Bow with her first speaking part, Arzner had the microphone attached to a rod and had it hung above the actress, granting her to freedom to move about at will. This invention is still used today and is now known as the boom microphone.
During the 1930s, Dorothy Arzner stood alone as the only female director working at that time. Despite the difficulties and resistance she encountered as a woman in a male-dominated field, she went to make more several films with the likes of Katharine Hepburn in Christopher Strong (1933) and Joan Crawford in The Bride Wore Red (1937).
After her last film, First Comes Courage (1943), Dorothy Arzner supported the war effort during World War II by making training films for the Women's Army Corps. She later became a teacher at the University of California, Los Angeles, influencing the likes of Francis Ford Coppola who was one of her students.
Dorothy Arzner died on October 1, 1979, in La Quinta, California. Among many notable accomplishments, Arzner became the first woman to join the Directors Guild of America and is also believed to be the first woman to direct a talkie, or a film with sound.
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: Dorothy Arzner profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Despite all sorts of institutional obstacles, women have continued to reach stratospheric levels of success in a full gamut of professional pursuits, whether as scientists, scribes, educators, governmental leaders, athletes, designers, film directors or performers. Learn more about the plethora of triumphs obtained by our group of trailblazers.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Groundbreaking Women 71 people in this group
Famous Capricorns 524 people in this group
From the early days of film, directors have transported audiences from darkened movie theaters to memorable worlds of their own creations. Their artistic visions and technical innovations have made a lasting impression on cinema from early silent films, starring and directed by Charlie Chaplin, to the psychological thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock to the blockbuster hits of Steven Spielberg and so many more. Here is a look at the famous film directors who have made their mark on the big screen.
Famous Film Directors 242 people in this group