Lewis Milestone

1895 - 1980

Lewis Milestone, a clothing manufacturer's son, was born in Bessarabia (now Moldova), raised in Odessa (Ukraine) and educated in Belgium and Berlin (where he studied engineering). He was fluent in both German and Russian and an avid reader. Milestone had an affinity for the theatre from an early age, starting as a prop man and background artist before traveling to the US in 1914 with $6.00 in his pocket. After a succession of odd jobs (including as a dishwasher and a photographer's assistant) he joined the Army Signal Corps in 1917 to make educational short films for U.S. troops. Following World War I, having acquired American citizenship, he went on to Hollywood to meet the director William A. Seiter at Ince Studios. Seiter started him off as an assistant cutter. Milestone quickly worked his way up the ranks to become editor, assistant director and screenwriter on many of Seiter's projects in the early 1920s, experiences that would greatly influence his directing style in years to com

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