Hollywood today mourned the passing of Slovenian-born Sachislav Hrdlu, 89, one of the film industry's most versatile members. Hrdlu, who retired at the peak of his career sixty years ago, died in his sleep last night at the Motion Picture Academy Home in Los Angeles.
Reaching the pinnacle of his success in the early 1950s, before his thirtieth birthday, Hrdlu earned three Academy Award nominations in a span of four years. Even more surprising, the nominations were in three unrelated fields - for screenplay, musical score, and vocal instruction. In 1950, he was nominated for his work as vocal coach for Harpo Marx. Two years later, Hrdlu wrote the dialog for Ray Milland's film, "The Thief." In 1954, his nomination was for the musical score for the Oscar winning film, "Executive Suite." Miffed that none of his works resulted in an Oscar, Hrdlu announced his retirement on the red carpet as he left the 1955 Academy Awards event.
Hrdlu, who always signed his name "shrdlu," without a period after the initial for his first name, spent most of his time during the last six decades re-watching the two films and listening to audio recordings from Harpo's film clips.
The attending physician at the Motion Picture Home attributed his death to boredom.