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PRESS RELEASE Aug. 19, 2004
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$1.1 Million Gift to UCLA Establishes Rouben Mamoulian Endowed Chair in Directing for Film and Theater
UCLA Film and Television Archive screens Mamoulian's 'Love Me Tonight' during Festival of Preservation Aug. 21
The estate of Azadia Mamoulian, widow of film and theater legend Rouben Mamoulian, has donated $1.1 million to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television to establish an endowed chair in theatrical and motion picture directing, announced Robert Rosen, dean of the school.
Mamoulian's musical masterpiece, "Love Me Tonight" (1932), was recently restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. www.cinema.ucla.edu.
"To have an artist of the distinction of Rouben Mamoulian associated with the chair is a great honor for us," Rosen said. "It is particularly appropriate since Mamoulian moved easily between stage and screen, just as our students are encouraged to do during their time on campus."
The Mamoulian Chair enables the school to invite film and theater artists of great distinction to teach at UCLA and enhance the curriculum. During the most recent academic year, the chair funded the residencies of veteran award-winning directors Robert Butler, Barry Primus and Joe Sargent in the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media. The residency of distinguished musical theater director Jeremy Mann also was funded and resulted in a sold-out Ray Bolger Musical Theater production of "Into the Woods."
Mamoulian's films are known for their sex and seduction, wit, lyricism, and highly inventive filmmaking techniques. "Love Me Tonight" is an enchanting tale of an amorous tailor (Maurice Chevalier) who woos a lovelorn princess (Jeanette MacDonald). The film was a landmark collaboration between Mamoulian and composers Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. They produced a technique that was revolutionary at the time wherein the story, action and dialogue were seamlessly integrated with irresistible songs. The Packard Humanities Institute funded the restoration of the print.
In addition to "Love Me Tonight," the UCLA Film and Television Archive has restored such Mamoulian classics as "Applause" (1929), "City Streets" (1931), "The Song of Songs" (1933), "Becky Sharp" (1935), "The Gay Desperado" (1936), "High, Wide and Handsome" (1937) and "The Mark of Zorro" (1940).
Additional films directed by Mamoulian include "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932), "Queen Christina" (1934), "We Live Again" (1934), "Golden Boy" (1939), "Blood and Sand" (1941), "Rings on Her Fingers (1942), "Summer Holiday" (1948) and "Silk Stockings" (1957).
Born and raised in Russia, Mamoulian studies law at the University of Moscow and pursued his love of theater by taking acting courses in the evening. He began his directing career on stage in London and New York and received critical acclaim for his 1926 Broadway non-musical production of "Porgy," featuring an all-black cast. That hit led Paramount studios to sign Mamoulian to direct the drama "Applause" (1929).
Throughout his moviemaking career, Mamoulian returned frequently to the stage, overseeing productions of the Gershwin opera version of "Porgy and Bess" in 1935 and "Carousel" in 1945. He won much praise as the original director of "Oklahoma" in 1943. In later years, he turned to writing. He died in 1987 at the age of 90.
The Mamoulian Chair is part of UCLA's Ensuring Academic Excellence initiative, a five-year effort aimed at generating $250 million inprivate commitments specifically for the recruitment and retention of the very best faculty and graduate students. The initiative was launched in June 2004. Its goals include $100 million to fund 100 new endowed chairs for faculty across campus, increasing the number to 331. In addition, campus officials plan to increase support for an estimated 3,500 graduate students per year by raising $100 million to fund fellowships and scholarships in the UCLA College and $50 million for fellowships and scholarships in UCLA's 11 professional schools.
About the UCLA Film and Television Archive
The UCLA Film and Television Archive is internationally renowned for its pioneering efforts to preserve and showcase not only classic films and television, but also contemporary, innovative moving image media. The archive also is a unique resource for media study, with one of the largest collections of media materials in the United States - second only to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. - and the largest of any university in the world. Its vaults hold more than 220,000 motion picture and television titles and 27 million feet of newsreel footage. The combined collections represent an all-encompassing documentation of the 20th century.