Mann was born Emil Anton Bundsmann in San Diego, California. His father, Emile Theodore Bundsmann, an academic, was from an Austrian Catholic family, and his mother, Bertha Weichselbaum, a drama teacher, was an American of Bavarian Jewish descent.
Shortly after their marriage, Mann's parents joined the proto-hippie religious cult of Lomaland in San Diego County where there was an emphasis on artistic, religious, and military training and where children were raised separately from their parents.
When Mann was three, his parents returned to his father's native Austria to seek treatment for Professor Bundsmann's ill health, leaving Mann behind in Lomaland. Mann's mother did not return for Mann until he was fourteen, and only then at the urging of a cousin who had paid him a visit and was worried about his treatment and situation at Lomaland.
With his father permanently institutionalized, Mann and his mother struggled financially in Newark, New Jersey, with Mann maintaining many odd jobs throughout the remainder of his middle and high school years. Mann appeared in some high school productions with his friend and classmate, future Hollywood studio executive Dore Schary. Schary would graduate from Newark's Central High School, but Mann dropped out in his senior year.
Theatre, TV, and early film work
Mann move to New York and took a night job that enabled him to look for stage work during the day. He used the name "Anton Bundsmann".
He appeared as an actor in The Blue Peter (1925), The Little Clay Cart (1926), and Uncle Vanya (1929). In 1930 he began directing as well, but he continued to act, appearing in The Streets of New York, or Poverty is No Crime (1931), and The Bride the Sun Shines On (1933). He directed Thunder on the Left (1933).
He worked for various stock companies, and in 1934 set up his own which later became Long Island's Red Barn Playhouse.
During these years he met and married his first wife Mildred when they both worked at Macy's department store in New York City. Contrary to misleading newspaper reports, Mildred was a clerk and not a store executive or manager. They would have two children and divorce in 1956. Mann's second wife was Spanish actress Sara Montiel, from 1957-'63.
Mann's career took a leap when he made T-Men (1947) for Eagle Lion. It was a critical and commercial success. He followed it with Railroaded! (1947).
He went back to RKO for Desperate (1947) then had some other big successes at Eagle Lion with Raw Deal (1948) and He Walked by Night (1948), although his directorial contribution to the latter was uncredited.
Mann was reunited with Stewart for another Western at Universal, Bend of the River (1952). The actor and director made a contemporary adventure film, Thunder Bay (1953) at Universal and a Western, The Naked Spur (1953) at MGM.
Mann went to Columbia to make a Western without Stewart, The Last Frontier (1955), with Victor Mature. Star and director were reunited on The Man from Laramie (1955) at Columbia. Then Stewart and Mann were meant to make Night Passage (1957) together, but had a disagreement and another director took over; they never collaborated again.
Mann went to MGM to direct Glenn Ford in an expensive remake of Cimarron (1960), which failed to recoup its cost at the box office. He was also the original director of Spartacus (1960), but was fired early in production by producer-star Kirk Douglas and replaced with Stanley Kubrick, having shot a handful of scenes.
Mann received an offer from producer Samuel Bronston to do a medieval epic written by Yordan, El Cid (1961). It was a notable success.
However a follow up epic for the same collaborators, The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), was a huge flop and contributed to the demise of Bronston's empire.
^ abcAlvarez, Max. The Crime Films of Anthony Mann, p. 15. University Press of Mississippi, 2013. ISBN9781496801036. Accessed December 19, 2017. "In New Jersey, Emile Anton attended elementary school in East Orange and high school in Newark but dropped out to go to work. The New York Times obituary reports him leaving high school at age sixteen, but the Central High School transcripts indicate a January 1925 dropout date, when Emile Anton was eighteen."