- In 1936, he went to Hollywood, where he was hired by Warner Bros. as an assistant director and dialogue coach. He proved invaluable in translating and mediating for non-native English-speaking directors. By the early 1940s, he had metamorphosed into one of the hottest directors on the Warner Bros. lot.
He made his directing debut with the 1941 film Shining Victory, in which his friend Bette Davis appeared as a show of support for him. He would go on to direct her in four more films, Now, Voyager (1942), The Corn Is Green (1945), Deception (1946), and Another Man's Poison (1952). In later years, Rapper admitted that he found Davis very difficult to work with and that she would, "...hold the whole set hostage, stopping production for a day, because of her mood."
Rapper's film One Foot in Heaven (1941) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film. Perhaps his best film in a studio other than Warner Bros. was The Brave One (1956) about a Mexican boy who must rescue his bull from a brutal fight against a top matador, which earned the then-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo an Academy Award for his original screenplay despite being a box office failure.
Additional credits include The Voice of the Turtle (1947),The Glass Menagerie (1950), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), and The Miracle, a 1959 remake of the 1912 hand-colored, black-and-white film The Miracle.
Biopics directed by Rapper include The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), Rhapsody in Blue (1945), Pontius Pilate (co-director, 1962) and his last film, Born Again (1978), about convicted Watergate conspirator and former Richard Nixon aide Charles Colson.
Rapper died at the age of 101 on 20 December 1999 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, where he had been a resident since 1995.
Born January 16, 1898
Died December 20, 1999