John Houseman (September 22, 1902 - October 31, 1988) was a Romanian-born American actor and film producer who became known for his highly publicized collaboration with director Orson Welles from their days in the Federal Theatre Project through to the production of Citizen Kane. But he is perhaps best known for his role as Professor Charles Kingsfield in the TV series The Paper Chase and for his commercials for the brokerage firm Smith Barney. In 1973, he won an Oscar for his Supporting performance in The Paper Chase. He had a distinctive Mid-Atlantic English accent, in common with many actors of his generation.
Houseman was born Jacques Haussmann in Bucharest in 1902, the son of a British mother of Welsh and Irish descent and an Alsatian-born Jewish father of Romanian ancestry who ran a grain business. He was educated in England at Clifton College, became a British citizen and worked in the grain trade in London before emigrating to the United States in 1925, where he took the stage name of John Houseman. He became a citizen of the U.S. in 1943. Houseman died of spinal cancer in 1988 at his home in Malibu, California at age 86.
Houseman produced numerous Broadway productions, including Heartbreak Hotel, Three Sisters, The Beggar's Opera, and several Shakespearean plays, including a famous "Blackshirt" Julius Caesar directed by Orson Welles in 1937. He also directed Lute Song, The Country Girl, and Don Juan in Hell, among others.