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Burgess Meredith Photos

These Burgess Meredith photos were taken by Ned Scott in late 1944 during the filming of The Story of G.I. Joe.  Meredith protrayed War Correspondent Ernie Pyle in the film.

Burgess Meredith, born November 7, 1907, was an American actor and director in film, theater and television.  Meredith had a rich and varied career.  He is known for his role as the arch villian in the Batman TV series, the serious and wise boxing trainer in the Rocky films, his more demanding roles in classical and contemporary theater, and finally his comic role as the sex-starved father in the Grumpier Old Men series of films.  If it weren't for his more prominent roles in many of his film and TV efforts, one could consider Meredith as an accomplished character actor. 

Graduating from Amherst College in 1931, Meredith later served in the United States Armed Forces where he attained the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army in WWII.  With the agreement of the War Department, he was discharged from the Army so that he could work for producer Lester Cowan in the film The Story of G.I. Joe in 1944.  He played the role of Pulitzer Award winning correspondent Ernie Pyle in the film. 

Meredith became involved in theater early in his career.  For most of the '30's, he found himself working in the Civic Repertory Theater in New York City.  His participation included acting in major roles and directing stage productions.  It was in cinema that he truly came into his own as an actor.  Hi was a favorite of director Otto Preminger who cast him in In Harm's Way, Advise and Consent, Hurry Sundown, and others. 

Burgess Meredith was married four times, and two of his wives were actresses.  He and his last wife were together for 46 years, producing two children.  He suffered from a form of bipolar disorder, according to his autobiography.  Meredith died in Malibu, California on September 9, 1998 at the age of 89.

As more Burgess Meredith photos are unearthed in the future, they will be displayed here for everyone to enjoy. 

Burgess Meredith, as Ernie Pyle, enjoys a bite of C rations on the set of The Story of G.I. Joe.  Ernie often heated his rations by using gasoline.  He would dig a little hole in the dirt or sand, place some gas into the hole, cover it again with sand, and light it.  The gas would burn slowly enough for him to heat a can of food or a cup of coffee.  Ernie preferred the British COMPO rations to the U.S. Army C rations because there was more variety.  Many G.I.'s, right after landing in Oran (where Ernie came ashore during Operation Torch) would give away portions of their C rations to ragged Arab children who followed the G.I.'s around relentlessly. There's nothing like a cigarette to comfort the battle weary war correspondent in The Story of G.I. Joe.  Burgess Meredith as Ernie Pyle gets ready to light up during a tough day at the front.  No cigarettes were allowed at night due to the ever vigilant enemy artillery spotters who would quickly zone in on such a target.  According to Lee Miller in his 1946 book, An Ernie Pyle Album, Ernie always wore a woven hat identical to this one out in the field. Camp dogs were everything to the combat soldier at the front.  Here Burgess Meredith plays Ernie Pyle in The Story of G.I. Joe holding the camp's mascot dog during a rainy and cold moment at the front.  Burgess Meredith was already serving in the U.S. Army on active duty as a Captain when Lester Cowan approached him to take the role of Ernie Pyle.  The Army released Meredith on an honorable discharge so he could take the role, but that occurred only after presidential adviser Harry Hopkins greased the way and George C. Marshall approved the discharge personally. U.S. War Correspondents play themselves as news arrives that Ernie Pyle had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism from U.S. War Correspondents play themselves in a reenactment of receiving news that Ernie Pyle had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism  in The Story of G.I. Joe.
U.S. War Correspondents play themselves as they celebrate the news that Ernie Pyle had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism from The Story of G.I. Joe. Sharing a cigarette with his Army buddies, Burgess Meredith as Ernie Pyle underscores the fact that he shared the privations of his regular soldiers while they were hunkering down in an improvised shelter, safe from enemy action, during inclement weather. While working on the movie set, Ned Scott could always be found chewing on a match stick, an Ohio Bue Tip ,atch stick to be precise.  And when he was not chewing on a stick, he was lighitng up and enjoying one of his Kent cigarettes.  Ernie Pyle and Burgess Meredith decided to imitate Ned Scott with synchronous poses for this photograph.  It was a light moment, one of many, and it speaks to the sense of comradery these men all felt toward one another on the set of Story of G.I. Joe. Pausing for a moment's reflection, Ernie Pyle, author of Here Is Your War and Burgess Meredith, star of the upcoming movie Story of G.I. Joe share thoughts while on the movie set. Burgess Meredith, star of Story of G.I. Joe, walks the movie set with Ernie Pyle who is dressed in his AWC (American War Correspondent) uniform, discussing the upcoming filming of the movie.
Burgess Meredith discusses Ernie Pyle's new book Here Is Your War with Ernie Pyle on the set of The Story of G.I. Joe.  Meredith had been furloughed from active duty as a captain in the U. S. Army by the War Department, and here he is wearing his regulation uniform with captain's rank insignia.  Meredith plays the role of Ernie Pyle in the movie. One of Ernie's fellow War Correspondents assigned to the film production of The Story of G. I. Joe teases Ernie about his regulation haircut and knit hat which Ernie always wore at the front. Burgess Meredith who played the role of Ernie in the film, looks on with approval.  On the set during filming, Meredith wore this hat or one identical to it for authenticity. Lester Cowan, seated, is flanked on the left by Captain Burgess Meredith, recently furloughed from active duty by the War Department for his role in The Story of G.I. Joe, and Ernie Pyle, U.S. War Correspondent from Scripps-Howard News Service.  In the film, Meredith played the the role of Ernie Pyle. Ned Scott took this photograph in an office at Selznick International Studios in Culver City, California. Cadet Nurse Beulah Tyler gets an earful from Burgess Meredith who plays the role of Ernie Pyle in The Story of G.I. Joe.  Capt. Walker (stand in for Capt. Waskow) demands at the point of his machine gun that the supply officer issue turkey for Christmas dinner as Ernie Pyle (played by Burgess Meredith) looks on. Scene from The Story of G.I. Joe.
Ernie Pyle (played by Burgess Meredith) jokes with officers and men in a light moment at one of the camps the front.  Ernie Pyle had an infectious sense of humor. Scene from The Story of G.I. Joe. Burgess Meredith's character Ernie Pyle takes the chance to talk to soldiers as they rest briefly between combat duties at the Tunisian front, from The Story of G.I. Joe Combat at the front was spartan conditions, even brutal when cold weather hit.  Burgess Meredith's character Ernie Pyle endures hardships at the front with his soldiers, from the Story of G.I. Joe.  At the front, troops took advantage of any feature of the terrain to shelter themselves both from weather and from enemy aircraft and artillery action. Christmas dinner at the front in The Story of G.I. Joe.  Food was always a big issue, and anything fresh was rare.  When such a meal was presented, G.I.'s were enthusiastic eaters.  Burgess Meredith plays Ernie Pyle who shares the soldier's meals at the front. The Story of G.I. Joe.  Food was always a big issue, and anything fresh was rare.  When such a meal was presented, G.I.'s were enthusiastic eaters.  Burgess Meredith plays Ernie Pyle who shares the soldier's meals at the front. After a successful forward surge by the company at the front, Burgess Meredith as Ernie Pyle takes a moment to relax in the shelled remains of a building in a small Italian town.  Meredith is actually sitting in the back seat of a car, the only part of the car still remaining after the attack. Scene from The Story of G.I. Joe.
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