Robert Aldrich


Robert Aldrich was a prominent American attorney and filmmaker who made significant contributions during the Cold War era. He was born on August 9, 1918, in Cranston, Rhode Island, and died on December 5, 1983, in Los Angeles, California. Throughout his career, Aldrich made several notable films and worked on various legal cases that helped shape America’s political and social landscape. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the life and accomplishments of Robert Aldrich.

The Early Years

Robert Aldrich

Childhood and Education

Robert Aldrich grew up in a middle-class family in Cranston, Rhode Island. His father was a newspaper publisher, and his mother was a social activist. As a child, Aldrich was interested in movies and often went to the cinema with his parents. He attended the Moses Brown School in Providence and later graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in economics. After college, Aldrich enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1941.

Early Career

After graduating from law school, Aldrich worked for the law firm of Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine in New York City. He later joined the United States Army and served in the Signal Corps during World War II. After the war, Aldrich returned to New York and worked as a lawyer for several years. In 1951, he moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and opened his law firm, Robert Aldrich, Attorney at Law. He quickly gained a reputation as a skilled trial lawyer and became involved in several high-profile cases.

The Filmmaker

Early Films

Despite his success as a lawyer, Robert Aldrich always had a passion for filmmaking. In the mid-1950s, he began producing and directing movies. His first film was the low-budget thriller, Big Leaguer, which was released in 1953. He followed this up with several other films, including World for Ransom (1954) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955). In 1961, Aldrich directed the classic war film, The Dirty Dozen, which became a box office hit and earned him critical acclaim.

Later Films

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Robert Aldrich continued to make movies that were both commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Some of his notable films from this period include What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), and The Longest Yard (1974). Aldrich was known for his gritty, realistic style and his ability to bring out strong performances from his actors.

Legacy and Awards

Impact on Filmmaking

Robert Aldrich’s contributions to the film industry were significant and lasting. He was one of the first directors to explore the darker side of human nature and to portray violence and brutality on screen. His films often dealt with themes of power, corruption, and betrayal, and they were known for their strong female characters. Aldrich’s influence can be seen in the work of many contemporary filmmakers, including Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese.

Awards and Honors

During his career, Robert Aldrich received several awards and honors for his work in both law and filmmaking. He was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2002 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014. In 1967, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for his film, The Dirty Dozen. Although he did not win the award, the film remains a classic of the war genre.


Robert Aldrich was a true renaissance man, with accomplishments in both law and filmmaking. He was a pioneer in the film industry, pushing the boundaries of what was considered acceptable and creating movies that were both entertaining and thought-provoking. Aldrich’s legacy continues to inspire filmmakers and audiences alike, and his contributions to American culture will not be forgotten.

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