Woodbridge Strong "Woody" Van Dyke, Jr. was an American motion picture director.
Born in San Diego, California, Van Dyke was a child actor on the vaudeville circuit. His early adult years were unsettled, and he moved from career to career until arriving in Hollywood. His first movie assignment was as an assistant director on the D. W. Griffith feature motion picture Intolerance. During the silent era he learned his craft and by the advent of the talkies was one of MGM's most reliable directors.
He came to be known as "One Take Woody" for the speed with which he would complete his assignments, and although not regarded as one of the screen's most talented directors, MGM regarded him as one of the most versatile, equally at home directing costume dramas, westerns, comedies, crime melodramas and musicals. Many of his films were huge hits and top box office in any given year. He received Academy Award for Best Director nominations for The Thin Man and San Francisco. He also directed the Oscar winning classic "Eskimo/Mala the Magnificent", in which he also has a featured acting role.
His other films include the island adventure White Shadows in the South Seas Trader Horn, Tarzan the Ape Man, Manhattan Melodrama, and Marie Antoinette. He is perhaps best remembered for directing Myrna Loy and William Powell in four Thin Man films: The Thin Man, After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man and Shadow of the Thin Man ; and Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in six of their greatest hits, Naughty Marietta, Rose-Marie, Sweethearts, New Moon, Bitter Sweet and I Married an Angel .