Classic Hollywood #17 – Director W.S. Van Dyke & Family

“One Take Woody” Gets A Son – 1937

Film director Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke is mostly forgotten today to many movie fans. He was a good director, and known in the film industry for working quickly, shooting many scenes in one take. This earned him the nickname “One Take Woody” and “One Take Van Dyke.”

He directed 90 films during his career and is best remembered for; Tarzan The Ape Man (1932), The Thin Man (1934), and San Francisco (1936) for which he was nominated for the Acadamy Award for Best Director.

This news photo of W.S. Van Dyke and family reads:

Film Director’s New Son Poses For First Photograph

Hollywood, Calif. – Eleven Days of Age Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke Jr., son of the film director, yesterday posed for his first picture. His mother, the former Ruth Mannix, helped him pose while he went through his repertoire of smiles and other grimaces for the cameraman. The Van Dykes have one other child, Barbara Laura, 20 months of age. Feb 25, 1937.

The Van Dykes would add another son in 1939, Winston Stuart Van Dyke.

W.S. Van Dyke was a devout Christian Scientist and battled many ailments the last few years of his life, refusing to be treated with modern medicine. At the age of 53 and suffering from cancer, he commited suicide February 5, 1943.

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5 thoughts on “Classic Hollywood #17 – Director W.S. Van Dyke & Family

    1. Bob

      I have been researching the Family, again this week, as being “cousins.”
      A Cousin was just in Carson City, where your direct ancestor Wellington Stuart resided.
      email me, I’ll share any information with you I have.

    2. Lee Voorhees

      Elexis, your Great Great Grandfather (John Van Dyke) and my Great Grandmother (Garetta Van Dyke Voorhees) were brother and sister.
      Love to share any information.

  1. Mark Alan Vieira


    I am the author of books on Hollywood history and am being interviewed this week on the subject of Jean Harlow. Forty years ago I met industry veterans who had worked with W.S. Van Dyke. I learned a great deal about him but there was never a mention of suicide.

    Can you tell me the source of your information?


    Mark A. Vieira

    1. B.P. Post author

      Hi Mark
      Main story source: Los Angeles Times August 20, 2012 – Five noted directors who committed suicide by Susan King


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