Monday, November 28, 2011

Lawrence Langner and James Cagney

Here’s a fine photograph of Swansea-born theatre impresario Lawrence Langner enjoying a chin-wag with actors James Cagney and William Bendix. It’s a 1947 behind-the-scenes publicity shot for the film The Time of Your Life. Langner was a hugely influential figure in American theatre. He co-founded the Theatre Guild in New York in 1919, which, in turn, contributed to the success of Broadway itself. Langner also co-founded the Washington Square Players and later set up and ran the Westport Country Playhouse. Furthermore he was founder and chairman of the American Shakespeare Festival. Weirdly, Langner was also a prominent patent attorney and expert on inventions. Amongst his most famous chums were playwrights Eugene O’Neill and George Bernard Shaw. He died in 1962.