Born in Sicily, the Director Frank Capra immigrated to the United States with his family in 1903. Many of his films are idealistic, patriotic, and sentimental but glorious celebrations of American life and values. Throughout the 1930s Capra was Columbia Pictures' mainstay, the director who made Harry Cohn's studio a major force in Hollywood. His characteristic comic style-brisk pace, snappy dialogue, energetic love scenes-set a pattern that has been much imitated. He was a skilled director of actors, eliciting a populist sincerity that is still appealing. The Capra hero, epitomized by the protagonist in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), is a man of the people faced with tremendous challenges, which he overcomes through honesty, optimism, and sheer American stubbornness. Audiences loved his films, and Capra received three Academy Awards for best director for: It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), and You Can't Take It with You (1938). During World War II, Capra produced propaganda films for the U.S. Army and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his "important influence on the morale of the Army." He returned to Hollywood to make the highly successful It's a Wonderful Life in 1946, but his career faltered in the 1950s and 1960s. He retired from film directing and wrote a popular autobiography detailing life among the movie stars and moguls.