Jean Negulesco
Jean Negulesco in 1986
Ioan Negulescu

13 March [O.S. 29 February] 1900
Craiova, Dolj, Romania
Died18 July 1993 (aged 93)
Occupation(s)Artist, film director, screenwriter, film producer
Years active1918–1970
Winifred Havlicek
(m. 1926; div. 1938)
(m. 1946)

Jean Negulesco (born Ioan Negulescu; 13 March [O.S. 29 February] 1900 – 18 July 1993) was a Romanian-American film director and screenwriter.[1] He first gained notice for his film noirs and later made such notable films as Johnny Belinda (1948), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Titanic (1953), and Three Coins in the Fountain (1954).[2]

He was called "the first real master of CinemaScope".[3]


Early life

Born in Craiova, Negulesco was the son of a hotel keeper and attended Carol I High School.

When he was 15, he was working in a military hospital during World War I. George Enescu, the Romanian composer, came to play the violin to the war wounded; Negulesco drew a portrait of him, and Enesco bought it. Negulesco decided to be a painter and studied art in Bucharest.[4]

Negulesco went to Paris in 1920, and enrolled in the Académie Julian. He sold one of his paintings to Rex Ingram.[5]


In 1927, he visited New York City for an exhibition of his paintings and settled there.[4]

He then made his way to California, at first working as a portraitist.[6]

He became interested in movies and made an experimental feature film, financed as well as written and directed by himself, called Three and a Day. Through his contact with the film's star, Mischa Auer, he managed to get a job at Paramount.[7]


He did the opening montage for the film musical Tonight We Sing and worked on The Story of Temple Drake and A Farewell to Arms (1932).[7]

He worked his way to assistant producer, second unit director.[1]

Warner Brothers

Negulesco went to Warner Brothers in 1940. He made his reputation at Warner Bros by directing short subjects, particularly a series of band shorts featuring unusual camera angles and dramatic use of shadows and silhouettes.

Negulesco's first feature film as director was Singapore Woman (1941). In 1948, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Directing for Johnny Belinda.

20th Century Fox

In 1948 Negulesco went to work for 20th Century Fox. He was the first director to make two films in Fox's CinemaScope - How to Marry a Millionaire and Three Coins in the Fountain;[8] the former receiving a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Film.[9]

His 1959 movie The Best of Everything was on Entertainment Weekly's Top 50 Cult Films of All-Time.

During his Hollywood career and in his 1984 autobiography Things I Did and Things I Think I Did, Negulesco claimed to have been born on 29 February 1900; he apparently was motivated to make this statement because birthdays on leap year day are comparatively rare (and even though 1900 was not a leap year in the Gregorian calendar, it was under the Julian calendar, which applied in Romania at that time).

He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6212 Hollywood Blvd.


From the late 1960s Negulesco lived in Marbella, Spain, where he died, at age 93, of heart failure. He is buried in the Virgen del Carmen cemetery in Marbella.[10]



Feature films


Many of Negulesco's home movies are held by the Academy Film Archive; the archive has preserved a number of them, including behind-the-scenes footage of Negulesco's films.[11]


  1. ^ a b Oliver, Myrna, "Jean Negulesco 1900–1993, The Los Angeles Times, 22 July 1993.
  2. ^ Chaillet, Jean-Paul (9 August 2018). "Filmmaker Autobiography: Jean Negulesco, From Romania to Hollywood". The Golden Globes. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  3. ^ Capua, Michelangelo (2017). Jean Negulesco: The Life and Films. McFarland & Company. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-47666-653-2.
  4. ^ a b "Jean Negulesco's Work". The New York Times. 6 November 1927. p. X.11.
  5. ^ Houseman, John (24 February 1985). "Royal Rumanian Movie Maker". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Jean and Dusty Negulesco papers". Margaret Herrick Library. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Jean Negulesco, 93, Director of '3 Coins ' Who Began as Artist". The New York Times. 22 July 1993. p. D.24.
  8. ^ "Inside Pictures". Variety. 7 October 1953. p. 16. Retrieved 12 October 2019 – via
  9. ^ Bergan, Ronald (23 July 1993). "The glory that was Rome in CinemaScope Obituary: Jean Negulesco". The Guardian. London.
  10. ^ Capua, Michelangelo (2017). Jean Negulesco: The Life and Films. McFarland & Company. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-47666-653-2.
  11. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.