Biography

Debonair and sophisticated, Adolphe Menjou was an impeccably-dressed lead actor with a waxed black mustache. At age 21 he moved to New York with no intention of becoming an actor; three years later he drifted into films as an extra, then got some larger roles before serving as a captain in the Ambulance Corps for three years in World War I. Back in the U.S. Menjou returned to acting, playing supporting roles in a number of major productions. He became a star after playing the lead role in Charlie Chaplin's A Woman of Paris (1923), which established his screen persona: a dapper, suave man of the world. He went on to play this role in more than 100 films, at first as a leading man and later as a character actor. He made the transition to sound easily and received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work in The Front Page (1931). He gained a reputation as one of the world's best-dressed men, a fact alluded to in the title of his autobiography, It Took Nine Tailors (1948). Active in politically conservative causes, in 1944 Menjou became a co-founder of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals; later he was a "friendly" witness in the 1947 hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee. From 1928-33 he was married to actress Kathryn Carver, and from 1934 on he was married to actress Verree Teasdale. ~ Rovi