John Houston, the son of a famous Hollywood director, was an accomplished actor and screenwriter. He starred in several major films, including the classics 'The Maltese Falcon' (1941) and 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' (1948). John Houston
Huston was also an accomplished painter, known for his expressionistic style, gestural brushstrokes, and intense use of color. He was especially skilled in depicting landscapes and seascapes, capturing the infinite awe of nature with his brushstrokes.
He was nominated for four Academy Awards, a record for an American filmmaker. He received one for Best Screenplay and Directing for 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre', which he also wrote. He died in 1987, aged 87.
Born in Scotland, he studied art in Edinburgh and then went to Paris for a year to study painting with Jean Cocteau and Charles Baudelaire. He was later educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in fine arts.
After returning to New York, he began writing short stories and published them in various literary magazines. He also took part in some amateur theatrical performances, which he considered his "first step toward a life of full creative potential."
His career in the movies began with the melodrama In This Our Life starring Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland, followed by 'Across the Pacific', a war film based on the book 'The Conquest of China' by William MacGregor. In addition, he made many documentaries for the U.S. government, some of which were kept under lock and key for their disturbingly realistic portrayal of the problems of war veterans.
During his stay in Mexico, while he was shooting the movie 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre', he met and befriended a boy named Pablo Albarran. Upon learning that the boy was a homeless orphan, Huston decided to adopt him and bring him back to the US.
In the late 1950s, he returned to the stage and became a respected actor, appearing in several major films, including 'The Cardinal' 1963), 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes' 1973), 'Chinatown' 1974), and 'The Wind and the Lion' 1975. His last film, 'The Dead' (1987), was his final contribution to the world of motion pictures.
A devoted father, Huston was often away from his children as he worked on the set of his films. He and his wife Cissy had two children together - Whitney Houston and Michael Houston.
He and Cissy divorced in 1990 after almost three decades of marriage, but they stayed friends. He was a supporter of Cissy's music and helped her with her music career at various points in time.
Throughout his career, he was often criticized for his poor handling of children in his films, particularly in his more melodramatic movies. However, he is best remembered for his work as an actor in 'The Maltese Falcon' and 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'.
His films were regarded as classics of the genre and his screenplay for 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' was nominated for an Oscar. He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1947 until his death in 1987.