Leo McCarey 'Going My Way' Oscar for Sale

Going My Way Bing Crosby Barry Fitzgerald Rise Stevens

Via the Associated Press / Metromix.com: Leo McCarey's Best Director Academy Award for the 1944 Best Film winner Going My Way is going to be auctioned by an anonymous collector. The opening bid is US$25,000. (The McCarey Oscar statuette was later revealed as counterfeit.)

McCarey, who died in 1969 at age 70, directed several Hollywood classics, including The Awful Truth (1937), for which he won his first Best Director Oscar, the romantic melodrama Love Affair (1939), and its remake, An Affair to Remember (1957). McCarey was also well-known for his right-wing politics.

Going My Way was one of his most successful films. Starring Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald (both also won Oscars, as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively), the sentimental comedy-drama revolves around the grudging relationship between a cantankerous older priest and a jovial younger one. A sequel of sorts, The Bells of St. Mary's, was released in 1945. Starring Crosby and Ingrid Bergman, it made even more money than Going My Way.

According to the AP report, “the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences frowns on the sale of Oscars, [but] it wasn't until 1950 that the Academy began requiring winners to sign statements promising neither they nor their heirs would sell one.”

Director Steven Spielberg has bought several pre-1950 statuettes that were then donated back to the Academy. Spielberg paid $180,000 for Bette Davis' Best Actress Oscar for Dangerous(1935), $578,000 for Davis' Oscar for Jezebel (1938), and $607,500 for Clark Gable's Best Actor Oscar for It Happened One Night (1934).

Online bidding for McCarey's Oscar goes from July 31 to Aug. 16.

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