Jean Negulesco (Romanian and American, 1900–1993) was a Romanian-born artist and director who first gained notice for his film noirs such as the notable Johnny Belinda (1948), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), and Three Coins in the Fountain (1954). While a teenager, Negulesco left Romania and moved to Paris where he made his reputation as a stage designer and painter in the 1920s. Negulesco worked in restaurants washing dishes in order to pay his way through art school. However, World War One intervened and he was caught in the French Army working in a field hospital on the war front. Negulesco returned to Paris and was mentored under Constantin Brancusi before subsequently returning home to Romania for a short time. In the early 1920s, Negulesco returned to Paris and sold 150 paintings. Confident of his talent, he moved to New York in 1927.
Soon after, Negulesco eventually made his way to Hollywood where he worked as a sketch artist and technical advisor for the movie sets. In 1936, he directed his first feature, Cash Donovan after his first couple self-financed films impressed executives in Hollywood. Negulesco directed and co-wrote short films like Singapore Woman (1941) and Dangerous (1935) before writing and directing his most notable film, Swiss Miss (1938), a Laurel and Hardy comedy. Negulesco also directed handfuls of other films that included stars like Peter Lorre, Hedy Lamarr, Paul Henreid, John Garfield, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, Fred Astaire, Sophia Loren, Richard Burton, and Joan Crawford, among others. His best film, Johnny Belinda (1948) was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including a nomination for Best Director.
While he was not a director working on numerous high-profile films, Negulesco created artwork. His minimalist contour line drawings and depictions of the female form are popular and resemble the work of Jean Cocteau and Francis Picabia. Negulesco eventually moved to Spain and focused on his painting. Semi-retired, Negulesco worked part-time on his art and part-time for his last two films, Hello-Goodbye and The Invincible Six. In 1984, Negulesco published his autobiography titled Things I Did and Things I Think I Did. Jean Negulesco died of a heart attack in 1993 at age 93. His work is included in countless major museum and private collections worldwide and is continuosly celebrated in Hollywood for his work and contributions to film.