Fredric March began a career in banking but in 1920 found himself cast as an extra in films being produced in New York. He starred on the Broadway stage first in 1926 and would return there between screen appearances later on. He won plaudits (and an Academy Award nomination) for his send-up of John Barrymore in The Royal Family of Broadway (1930). Four more Academy Award nominations would come his way, and he would win the Oscar for Best Actor twice: for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). He could play roles varying from heavy drama to light comedy, and was often best portraying men in anguish, such as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman (1951). As his career advanced he progressed from leading man to character actor.
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