Norman Z. McLeod

1895 - 1964

Norman Z. McLeod was one of Hollywood's leading early comedy directors. Born in Grayling, Michigan, he came from a family that had no connections to show business (his father was a clergyman). He was educated at the University of Washington and spent two years as a fighter pilot in the US Army in France during World War I. He actually started out in the film business as an animator, but learned the comedy trade at the Christie Film Co., which specialized in comedy shorts. His first successful full-length film was Taking a Chance (1928) for Fox. He was one of Paramount's top directors when he shot two early films with The Marx Brothers, Monkey Business (1931) and Horse Feathers (1932), both considered among the team's best. Other memorable work from McLeod includes It's a Gift (1934) with W.C. Fields, Topper (1937) with Cary Grant and the Danny Kaye comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947).

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