Lubitsch, Ernst (lōˈbĭch) [key], 1892–1947, German-American film director, b. Berlin. He studied acting in his native city and in 1911 joined Max Reinhardt's theatre company. Lubitsch turned to directing in 1914 and became known for such silent films as the drama Madame Du Barry ( Passion ) and the comedy Die Puppe ( The Doll ), both released in 1919. Lubitsch made more than 40 German films before he was invited to the United States to direct Mary Pickford in Rosita (1923). He became a Hollywood favorite, making Lady Windermere's Fan (1925), The Patriot (1928), and other silents. With the advent of sound, he directed a string of sparkling, sophisticated, and sexually knowing comedies marked by a lightness, urbanity, and grace that critics dubbed "the Lubitsch touch." These include Trouble in Paradise (1932), Design for Living (1933), Ninotchka (1939), The Shop around the Corner (1940), To Be or Not to Be (1942), and Heaven Can Wait (1943). Lubitsch died while filming That Lady in Ermine (1948).
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