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Norman Foster Edit Profile

actor , director , screenwriter

Norman Foster was an American film and television director, actor and screenwriter. He was known for his directing the Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan mystery films.


Foster was born on December 13, 1903 in Richmond, Indiana, United States; the son of Charles Foster and Blanche M. (Cummings) Hoeffer.


Foster was a club reporter on a local newspaper in Indiana, before his acting career. He made his Broadway debut as a stage player in "June Moon" in 1929. In the early 1930s, Foster`s more memorable roles were in films such as "State Fair", 1933, "Pilgrimage", 1933 and "Professional Sweetheart", 1934. Also he appeared in films such as "Skyscraper Souls", 1932 and "Rafter Romance", 1933.

Then Norman decided to give up acting and went to work for Twentieth Century-Fox (nowadays 20th Century Fox) directing B-film mysteries. In 1936, Foster got his chance at directing with "I Cover Chinatown", an independent film shot in San Francisco in which he also had an acting role.

Foster directed a number of Charlie Chan mysteries, starring Sidney Toler, including "Charlie Chan in Panama", 1940, "Charlie Chan at Treasure Island", 1939, "Charlie Chan in Reno", 1939. In addition, he directed Mr. Moto series starring Peter Lorre in such films as "Mr. Moto's Last Warning", 1939, "Mysterious Mr. Moto", 1938, "Mr. Moto Takes a Chance", 1938, "Thank You, Mr. Moto", 1937 and "Think Fast, Mr. Moto", 1937.

Norman directed location footage in Mexico in 1941 for a segment of an anthology film about South America "It’s All True" by Orson Welles. That film was never completed, but a documentary about the project containing a version of a segment Welles shot was released in 1993. Foster was then hired to direct Welles’s next production "Journey into Fear", 1943, an espionage yarn adapted from a complicated Eric Ambler novel.

Since 1943, Foster shot four Spanish-language films in Mexico, including "Santa", 1943, "La Fuga", 1943, "La Hora de la Verdad", 1945 and "La Casa Embrujada", 1944. In 1948, he returned to Hollywood to shoot the western romance "Rachel and the Stranger", 1948, "Kiss the Blood off My Hands", 1948, "Tell It to the Judge", 1949 and "Father Is a Bachelor", 1950.

Then Foster went to work for Disney, making live-action shows for television, including five programs about the adventures of Davy Crockett and The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca, 1959. Foster continued to work largely in television, directing episodes of such popular series as "Zorro", "The Loretta Young Show" and "Batman". In 1967, he directed "Brighty of the Grand Canyon", based on a children's novel by Marguerite Henry about a burro in the Grand Canyon National Park.


  • Foster was best known for many of the Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan mystery films of the 1930s and 1940s and the popular Disney television shows about frontiersman Davy Crockett in 1954-1955.


Norman Foster married Claudette Colbert in 1928. In October 1935, he married Sally Blane. They have 2 children.

Charles Foster

Blanche M. (Cummings) Hoeffer

Robert Foster

Gretchen Foster

first wife:
Claudette Colbert
Claudette Colbert - first wife of Norman Foster

second wife:
Sally Blane (July 11, 1910 – August 27, 1997) - American - actor
Sally Blane (July 11, 1910 – August 27, 1997) - second wife of Norman Foster