Mitchell Leisen was an American director, art director, and costume designer. He entered the film industry in the 1920s, beginning in the art and costume departments.
He directed his first film in 1933 with Cradle Song and became known for his keen sense of aesthetics in the glossy Hollywood melodramas and screwball comedies he turned out.
His best known films include the Alberto Casella adaptation Death Takes a Holiday and Murder at the Vanities, a musical mystery story, as well as Midnight and Hold Back the Dawn, both scripted by Billy Wilder. Easy Living, written by Preston Sturges and starring Jean Arthur, was another hit for the director, who also directed Remember the Night, the last film written by Sturges before he started directing his scripts as well. The films Lady in the Dark, To Each His Own, and No Man of Her Own were later successes. Charles Brackett’s comedy The Mating Season starring Gene Tierney, Miriam Hopkins and Thelma Ritter was an updated version of Leisen’s earlier screwball comedies of the 1930s, and was also his last big movie success.
When his film career ended, Leisen directed episodes of The Twilight Zone, Thriller, Shirley Temple’s Storybook and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.. He also bought a nightclub.