Irving Rapper (16 January 1898 – 20 December 1999) was a British film director. His most successful body of work is 10 films he made while under contract with Warner Brothers.
Rapper emigrated to the United States and became an actor and stage director on Broadway while studying at New York University. In 1936, he went to Hollywood, where he was hired by Warner Bros. as an assistant director and dialogue coach. He proved invaluable in translating and mediating for non-native English-speaking directors. By the early 1940s, he had metamorphosed into one of the hottest directors on the Warner Bros. lot.
He made his directing debut with the 1941 film Shining Victory, in which his friend Bette Davis appeared as a show of support for him. He would go on to direct her in four more films, Now, Voyager (1942), The Corn Is Green (1945), Deception (1946), and Another Man's Poison (1952). In later years, Rapper admitted that he found Davis very difficult to work with and that she would, "...hold the whole set hostage, stopping production for a day, because of her mood."
Rapper's film One Foot in Heaven (1941) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film. Perhaps his best film in a studio other than Warner Bros. was The Brave One (1956), which earned the then-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo an Academy Award for his original screenplay.
Additional credits include The Glass Menagerie (1950), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), and The Miracle, a 1959 remake of the 1912 Austrian film Das Mirakel.
Biopics directed by Rapper include The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), Pontius Pilate (1962) and his last film, the 1978 flop Born Again, about convicted Watergate conspirator and former Richard Nixon aide Charles Colson.
Rapper died at the age of 101 on 20 December 1999 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, where he had been a resident since 1995.
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