Walter Lang
Born(1896-08-10)August 10, 1896
DiedFebruary 7, 1972(1972-02-07) (aged 75)
Resting placeInglewood Park Cemetery
OccupationFilm director
Years active1925–1961
SpouseMadalynne Field (m. 1937–1972; his death)
At christening of the ship S. S. Carole Lombard (1944). Walter Lang's wife Madalynne Field, a former actress, is second from left. Also in photo (L-R) are Clark Gable, actress Irene Dunne, and Louis B. Mayer

Walter Lang (August 10, 1896 – February 7, 1972) was an American film director.[1]

Early life

Walter Lang was born in Tennessee. As a young man he went to New York City where he found clerical work at a film production company. The business piqued his artistic instincts and he began learning the various facets of filmmaking and eventually worked as an assistant director. However, Lang also had ambitions to be a painter and left the United States for a time to join the great gathering of artists and writers in the Montparnasse Quarter of Paris, France. Things did not work out as Lang hoped and he eventually returned home and to the film business.


In 1925, Walter Lang directed his first silent film, The Red Kimono. In the mid-1930s, he was hired by 20th Century Fox where, as a director, he "painted" a number of the spectacular colorful musicals for which Fox Studios became famous for producing during the 1940s. One of Lang's most recognized films is the lavish adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical The King and I (1956) for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Directing.[2] and his star, Yul Brynner, won the Oscar for Best Actor in a role he immortalized. Another is State Fair, also a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, which was shown to WW2 servicemen around the world in the last months of the war.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Walter Lang has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6520 Hollywood Blvd.[3]

Personal life

Lang was married to Madalynne Field (1907–1974) from 1937 until his death. Field, a former actress, had met and befriended Carole Lombard when they were employed as Sennett Bathing Beauties in the late 1920s. Field's film career ended with the demise of Sennett's studio. However, she maintained her friendship with Lombard, and acted as Lombard's secretary until her marriage. She met Lang when he directed Lombard in Love Before Breakfast (1936). Lang was buried in the Inglewood Park Cemetery, in Inglewood, California.



  1. ^ "Walter Lang, 73, Director, is Dead". New York Times. February 8, 1972.
  2. ^ "Walter Lang". Los Angeles Times. February 8, 1972.
  3. ^ "Walter Lang". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved December 7, 2014.