George Sidney entered the entertainment industry at the age of five, appearing in short silent films throughout the 1920s. The son of a Broadway producer, Sidney acted through his teens until he was told by Frank Capra, "When you grow up, be a director. Tell everybody what to do." Sidney began working at MGM, first as a messenger, gradually working his way up to sound technician and assistant cutter, before being hired on as a director of the 'Little Rascal' Our Gang comedy shorts. At only 21, Sidney was just a few years older than the oldest cast members. Sidney continued to direct short films for a time before directing his first feature, Free and Easy, in 1941. Sidney also directed the first theatrical 3-D short, Murder in 3-D, that same year.
From there Sidney embarked on a long and successful feature career helming the films Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Harvey Girls (1946), Holiday in Mexico (1946), The Three Musketeers (1948), The Red Danube (1949), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Show Boat (1951), Scaramouche (1952), Kiss Me Kate (1953), Young Bess (1953) The Eddy Duchin Story (1956), Pal Joey (1960), Who Was That Lady? (1960), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964), The Swinger (1966), before directing his final feature, Half a Sixpence (1967).
Sidney has a long history of service to the Directors Guild, becoming, at the age of 34, the youngest president in the Guild’s history. Sidney served as President from 1951-1959 (as the Screen Directors Guild) and again from 1961-1967. During his time as President, Sidney fought tirelessly for health benefits, securing a director’s cut, admitting television and radio directors, establishing a New York office, and building a DGA headquarters with a theater, just across the street from where the current Los Angeles headquarters sits. In total, Sidney served on the National Board from 1945-1977, the Western Directors Council from 1961-1977, was a member of the 1964 Negotiating Committee, and was a longtime Trustee of the Directors Guild Foundation.
For his lifelong participation and loyalty to the Guild, George Sidney has been bestowed with three of the Guild’s highest honors. In 1959 he was named an Honorary Life Member of the Guild. In 1986 he was a recipient of the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award for extraordinary service to the Guild and in 1998 received the President’s Award for his leadership to the Guild and the industry. For his directorial efforts, Sidney has been nominated for four DGA Feature Film Awards for Show Boat, Scaramouche, Young Bess and The Eddy Duchin Story. Sidney also received three Academy Awards for his short film work in the 1940s. In 1956 Sidney received a Golden Globe Award for “Best World Entertainment Through Musical Films.”
Sidney passed away in May 2002.