Frank Capra Biography (1897-1991)

Born May 18, 1897, in Palermo, Italy; immigrated to United States, 1903; diedin his sleep, September 2, 1991, in La Quinta, CA; son of Salvatore (a fruitgrower) and Sarah (Nicolosi) Capra; married Helen Howell, 1924 (marriage ended); married Lucille Rayburn Warner, 1932; children: Frank Jr., John, Lulu, Thomas. Addresses: Contacts--P.O. Box 980, La Quinta, CA 92253; and c/oAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

Birth Details
May 18, 1897
Palermo, Italy
Death Details
September 2, 1991
La Quinta, California, United States

Famous Works

  • Credits; FILM DIRECTOR
  • The Strong Man, First National, 1926.
  • For the Love of Mike, First National, 1927.
  • Long Pants, First National, 1927.
  • The Matinee Idol, Columbia, 1928.
  • The Power of the Press, Columbia, 1928.
  • Say It with Sables, Columbia, 1928.
  • So This Is Love, Columbia, 1928.
  • Submarine, Columbia, 1928.
  • That Certain Thing, Columbia, 1928.
  • The Way of the Strong, Columbia, 1928.
  • Flight, Columbia, 1929.
  • The Donovan Affair, Columbia, 1929.
  • Younger Generation, Columbia, 1929.
  • Ladies of Leisure, Columbia, 1930.
  • Rain or Shine, Columbia, 1930.
  • Dirigible, Columbia, 1931.
  • The Miracle Woman, Columbia, 1931.
  • Platinum Blonde, Columbia, 1931.
  • American Madness, Columbia, 1932.
  • Forbidden, Columbia, 1932.
  • The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Columbia, 1933.
  • Lady for a Day, Columbia, 1933.
  • Broadway Bill (also known as Strictly Confidential), Columbia, 1934.
  • It Happened One Night, Columbia, 1934.
  • Also director of Fultah Fisher's Boarding House, 1922; The Swim Princess,1928; and The Burglar (also known as Smith's Burglar), 1928.
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Columbia 1936.
  • Lost Horizon, Columbia, 1937.
  • You Can't Take It with You, Columbia, 1938.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Columbia, 1939.
  • Meet John Doe, Warner Brothers, 1941.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace, Warner Brothers, 1944.
  • It's a Wonderful Life, Liberty/RKO Radio Pictures, 1946 (also see below).
  • State of the Union (also known as The World and His Wife), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1948.
  • Riding High, Paramount, 1950.
  • Here Comes the Groom, Paramount, 1951.
  • A Hole in the Head, United Artists, 1959.
  • Pocketful of Miracles, United Artists, 1961.
  • Why We Fight, U.S. War Department, Part 1: (and director) "Prelude to War," 1942; Part 2: (and director with others) "The Nazis Strike," 1943; Part 3:(and director with others) "Divide and Conquer," 1943; Part 4: "The Battle of Britain," 1943; Part 5: "The Battle of Russia," 1944; Part 6: (and directorwith others) "The Battle of China," 1944; Part 7: "War Comes to America," 1945.
  • (And director with others) Tunisian Victory, U.S. War Department, 1944.
  • Know Your Ally: Britain, U.S. War Department, 1944.
  • The Negro Soldier, U.S. Office of War Information, 1944.
  • Two Down, One to Go, U.S. War Department, 1945.
  • (And director with others) Know Your Enemy: Japan, U.S. War Department, 1945.
  • Know Your Enemy: Germany, U.S. War Department, 1945.
  • Our Mr. Sun, Bell System Science Series, 1956 (also see below).
  • Hemo the Magnificent, Bell System Science Series, 1957 (also see below).
  • The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays, Bell System Science Series, 1957 (also see below).
  • The Unchained Goddess, Bell System Science Series, 1958 (also see below).
  • Also producer of Attack! The Battle of New Britain, 1944; producer and director of Rendezvous in Space, 1964.
  • George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (documentary), Castle Hill, 1985.
  • Arriva Frank Capra (documentary; also known as Here Comes Frank Capra) Electra, 1987.
  • The American Film Institute Salute to Frank Capra, CBS, 1982.
  • The American Film Institute Salute to John Huston, CBS, 1983.
  • Writings
  • Frank Capra: The Name above the Title (autobiography), Macmillan, 1971.
  • (With Arthur Ripley) Lucky Stars (short film), Warner Brothers, 1925.
  • (With Ripley) Saturday Afternoon (short film), Warner Brothers, 1925.
  • (With Tim Whelan, Hal Conklin, J. Frank Holliday, Gerald Duffy, and MurryRoth) Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, First National, 1926.
  • (With Ripley) The Strong Man, First National, 1926.
  • (With Ripley) His First Flame, Pathe Exchange, 1927.
  • (With Howard J. Green) Flight, Columbia, 1929.
  • (With Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Jo Swerling) It's a WonderfulLife, Liberty/RKO Radio Pictures, 1946.
  • Our Mr. Sun (documentary), Bell System Science Series, 1956.
  • Hemo the Magnificent (documentary), Bell System Science Series, 1957.
  • The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays (documentary), Bell System Science Series, 1957.
  • The Unchained Goddess (documentary), Bell System Science Series, 1958.
  • Also author, with Arthur Ripley, of short films Picking Peaches, Smile Please, Shanghaied Lovers, Flickering Youth, The Cat's Meow, His New Mama, TheFirst 100 Years, The Luck 'o the Foolish, The Hansom Cabman, All Night Long,and Feet of Mud, all 1924; The Sea Squawk, Boobs in the Woods, His Marriage Wow, Plain Clothes, Remember When?, Horace Greeley, Jr., The White Wing's Bride, and There He Goes, all 1925; and Fiddlesticks and The Soldier Man, both 1926.

Further Reference


  • Detroit Free Press, September 4, 1991.

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