George Cukor (July 7, 1899 – January 24, 1983) was an Academy Award-winning American film director who mainly concentrated on comedies and literary adaptations. His career flourished at RKO and later MGM, where he directed a string of impressive films including What Price Hollywood? (1932), A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), Little Women (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Romeo and Juliet (1936), and Camille (1937).
His career suffered a temporary setback when he was replaced as the director of Gone with the Wind (1939), but he continued to direct classic films with The Philadelphia Story (1940), Adam's Rib (1949), Born Yesterday (1950) and A Star Is Born (1954). His last major success was My Fair Lady (1964), but he worked into the 1980s.
He was born George Dewey Cukor on the Lower East Side of New York City, the younger child and only son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants Victor, an assistant district attorney, and Helen Ilona (née Gross) Cukor. His parents selected his middle name in honor of Spanish-American War hero George Dewey. The family was not particularly religious; Yiddish was not spoken in the home, pork was a staple on the dinner table, and when he started attending temple as a boy, Cukor learned Hebrew phonetically, with no real understanding of the meaning of the words or what they represented. As a result, he was ambivalent about his faith and dismissive of old world traditions from childhood, and as an adult he embraced Anglophilia to remove himself even further from his roots.