Saturday, October 13, 2012

This Day in History October 13, 1912

By Trailer screenshot (The Greatest Show on Earth trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever heard of Cornel Wilde or seen The Greatest Show on Earth?  Well, it just so happens that on this date in 1912, Cornel Wilde was born.  His real name?  Kornél Lajos Weisz.  And he was born in what was then Hungary and what is now Slovakia.  His parents were Hungarian Jews, and upon entering the U.S. at the age of 7, his name was Americanized to Cornelius Louis Wilde.

I was amazed to learned that in 1936, he qualified for the U.S. fencing team in the Summer Olympics, but he could not resist the call of theatre.  He was also offered a medical school scholarship, but he again turned it down for the theatre.  He also began to claim that he was born in 1915 in New York City, so there are many erroneous reports out there stating his date of birth to be 1915 instead of the correct date of 1912.

He was basically an adventure film actor except for the occasional blockbuster film (The Greatest Show on Earth).  He also went on to become a dynamic director himself.  He died of leukemia at the age of 77.  

That is how I know Cornel Wilde.  If you have never seen this film, I highly recommend it.  In fact, if you are a Jimmy Stewart fan, his role in this film is one of the most intriguing performances her ever gave.

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