|Died||January 31, 1974 91) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.|
|Other names||Samuel Goldfish|
(m. 1910;div. 1915)
|Children||2, including Samuel Jr.|
|Relatives|| Tony Goldwyn (grandson)|
John Goldwyn (grandson) Liz Goldwyn (granddaughter)
Samuel Goldwyn (born Szmuel Gelbfisz; Yiddish : שמואל געלבפֿיש; August 27, 1882 – January 31, 1974), also known as Samuel Goldfish, was a Polish-American film producer. He was best known for being the founding contributor and executive of several motion picture studios in Hollywood. His awards include the 1973 Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1947, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1958.
Goldwyn was born Szmuel Gelbfisz ; 1855–1925).in Warsaw to Polish Jewish Hasidic parents, Aaron Dawid Gelbfisz (1852–1895), a peddler, and his wife, Hanna Frymet (née Fiszhaut
He left Warsaw penniless after his father's death and made his way to Hamburg. There he stayed with acquaintances of his family where he was trained as a glove maker. On November 26, 1898, Gelbfisz left Hamburg for Birmingham, England, where he remained with relatives for six weeks under the name Samuel Goldfish. On January 4, 1899, he sailed from Liverpool, arrived in Philadelphia on January 19, and went to New York. He found work in upstate Gloversville, New York in the bustling glove business. Soon his innate marketing skills made him a very successful salesman at the Elite Glove Company. After four years as vice-president of sales, he moved back to New York City and settled at 10 West 61st Street.
In 1913, Goldwyn, along with his brother-in-law Jesse L. Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, and Arthur Friend formed a partnership, The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, to produce feature-length motion pictures. Film rights for a stage play, The Squaw Man , were purchased for $4,000 and Dustin Farnum was hired for the leading role. Shooting for the first feature film made in Hollywood began on December 29, 1913.
In 1914, Paramount was a film exchange and exhibition corporation headed by W. W. Hodkinson. Looking for more movies to distribute, Paramount signed a contract with the Lasky Company on June 1, 1914 to supply 36 films per year. One of Paramount's other suppliers was Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Company. The two companies merged on June 28, 1916 forming The Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. Zukor had been quietly buying Paramount stock, and two weeks prior to the merger, became president of Paramount Pictures Corporation and had Hodkinson replaced with Hiram Abrams, a Zukor associate.
With the merger, Zukor became president of both Paramount and Famous Players-Lasky, with Goldfish being named chairman of the board of Famous Players-Lasky, and Jesse Lasky first vice-president. After a series of conflicts with Zukor, Goldfish resigned as chairman of the board, and as a member of the executive committee on September 14, 1916. Goldfish was no longer an active member of management, although he still owned stock and was a member of the board of directors. Famous Players-Lasky would later become part of Paramount Pictures Corporation, and Paramount would become one of Hollywood's major studios.
In 1916, Goldfish partnered with Broadway producers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn,using a combination of both names to call their film-making enterprise Goldwyn Pictures. Seeing an opportunity, he had his name legally changed to Samuel Goldwyn in December 1918 and used this name for the rest of his life. Goldwyn Pictures proved successful but it is their "Leo the Lion" trademark for which the company is today remembered.
On April 10, 1924, Goldwyn Pictures was acquired by Marcus Loew and merged into his Metro Pictures Corporation, becoming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Despite the inclusion of his name, Samuel Goldwyn never had any connection with ownership, management or production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Before the sale and merger of Goldwyn Pictures in April 1924, Goldwyn had established Samuel Goldwyn Productions in 1923 as a production-only operation (with no distribution arm). Their first feature was Potash and Perlmutter , released in September 1923 through First National Pictures. Some of the early productions bear the name "Howard Productions", named for Goldwyn's wife, Frances.[ citation needed ]
For 35 years, Goldwyn built a reputation in filmmaking and developed an eye for finding the talent for making films. William Wyler directed many of his most celebrated productions, and he hired writers such as Ben Hecht, Sidney Howard, Dorothy Parker, and Lillian Hellman. (According to legend, at a heated story conference Goldwyn scolded someone—in most accounts Mrs. Parker, who recalled he had once been a glove maker—who responded to him, "Don't you point that finger at me. I knew it when it had a thimble on it!")
During that time, Goldwyn made numerous films and reigned as Hollywood's most successful independent producer. Many of his films were forgettable; his collaboration with John Ford, however, resulted in a Best Picture Oscar nomination for Arrowsmith (1931). Goldwyn and Ford had another successful collaboration six years later with The Hurricane (1937). William Wyler was responsible for most of Goldwyn's highly lauded films, with Best Picture Oscar nominations for Dodsworth (1936), Dead End (1937), Wuthering Heights (1939), The Little Foxes (1941) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). Leading actors in several Goldwyn films, especially those directed by Wyler, were also Oscar-nominated for their performances. Throughout the 1930s, Goldwyn released all his films through United Artists; beginning in 1941, and continuing nearly to the end of his career, Goldwyn's films were distributed by RKO Pictures.
In 1946, the year he was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, Goldwyn's drama, The Best Years of Our Lives , starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In the 1950s Samuel Goldwyn turned to making a number of musicals including Hans Christian Andersen (1952) his last with Danny Kaye, with whom he had made many others, and Guys and Dolls (1955) starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Vivian Blaine, which was based on the successful Broadway musical. This was the only independent film that Goldwyn released through MGM.
In his final film, Samuel Goldwyn brought together African-American actors Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr. and Pearl Bailey in a film rendition of the George Gershwin opera, Porgy and Bess (1959). Released by Columbia Pictures, the film was nominated for three Oscars, but won only one for Best Original Score. It was also a critical and financial failure, and the Gershwin family reportedly disliked the film and eventually pulled it from distribution. The film turned the opera into an operetta with spoken dialogue in between the musical numbers. Its reception was a major disappointment for Goldwyn, who, according to biographer Arthur Marx, saw it as his crowning glory and had wanted to film Porgy and Bess since he first saw it onstage in 1935.
Goldwyn's house, at 1200 Laurel Lane in Beverly Hills was completed in 1934, designed by Douglas Honnold and George Vernon Russell. The Goldwyns hosted frequent social events at the house.
In 1910, Goldwyn married Blanche Lasky, a sister of Jesse L. Lasky. The marriage produced a daughter, Ruth. The couple divorced in 1915. In 1925, he married actress Frances Howard, to whom he remained married for the rest of his life. Their son, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., would eventually join his father in the business.
Goldwyn died of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles in 1974 at the age of 91. In the 1980s, the Samuel Goldwyn Studio was sold to Warner Bros. There is a theater named after him in Beverly Hills and he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1631 Vine Street for his contributions to motion pictures on February 8, 1960.
Samuel Goldwyn's grandchildren include:
Goldwyn's relatives include Fred Lebensold, an award-winning architect (best known as the designer of multiple concert halls in Canada and the United States). Fred was the son of Manya Lebensold, Sam's younger sister, who perished in the Holocaust---despite the best efforts of her brothers Sam and Ben in 1939–40 to extricate her from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Samuel Goldwyn's will created a multimillion-dollar charitable foundation in his name. Among other endeavors, the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation funds the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards, provided construction funds for the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Library, and provides ongoing funding for the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital.
Several years after the senior Goldwyn's death, his son, Samuel Jr., initiated an independent film and television distribution company dedicated to preserving the integrity of Goldwyn's ambitions and work. The company's assets were later acquired by Orion Pictures, and in 1997, passed on to Orion's parent company, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Several years later, the Samuel Goldwyn Jr. Family Trust and Warner Bros. acquired the rights to all the Goldwyn-produced films except The Hurricane , which was returned to MGM division United Artists.
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Goldwyn was also known for his malapropisms, paradoxes, and other speech errors called 'Goldwynisms' ("a humorous statement or phrase resulting from the use of incongruous or contradictory words, situations, idioms, etc.") and was frequently quoted. For example, he was reported to have said, "I don't think anybody should write his autobiography until after he's dead."and "Include me out." Some famous Goldwyn quotations are misattributions. For example, the statement attributed to Goldwyn that "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on" is actually a well-documented misreporting of an actual quote praising the trustworthiness of a colleague: "His verbal contract is worth more than the paper it's written on". The identity of the colleague is variously reported as Joseph M. Schenck or Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Goldwyn himself was reportedly aware of—and pleased by—the misattribution.
Upon being told that a book he had purchased for filming, The Well of Loneliness , couldn't be filmed because it was about lesbians, he reportedly replied: "That's all right, we'll make them Hungarians." The same story was told about the 1934 rights to The Children's Hour with the response "That's okay; we'll turn them into Armenians."
In the Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias", the line "I ain't often right but I've never been wrong" appears in the bridge—this is very similar to Goldwyn's "I'm willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong."
Cecil Blount DeMille was an American film director, producer and actor. Between 1914 and 1958, he made 70 features, both silent and sound films. He is acknowledged as a founding father of the American cinema and the most commercially successful producer-director in film history. His films were distinguished by their epic scale and by his cinematic showmanship. His silent films included social dramas, comedies, Westerns, farces, morality plays, and historical pageants.
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film and television production and distribution company and a subsidiary of ViacomCBS. It is the fifth oldest film studio in the world, the second oldest film studio in the United States, and the sole member of the "Big Five" film studios still located in the city limits of Los Angeles.
Adolph Zukor was a Hungarian-American film producer best known as one of the three founders of Paramount Pictures. He produced one of America's first feature-length films, The Prisoner of Zenda, in 1913.
Orion Pictures is an American motion picture producer owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In its original operating period, the company produced and released films from 1978 until 1999 and was also involved in television production and syndication throughout the 1980s until the early 1990s. It was formed in 1978 as a joint venture between Warner Bros. and three former senior executives at United Artists. During this early period, Orion was considered a mini-major studio.
Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company that operated from 1916 to 1924 when it was merged with two other production companies to form the major studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was founded by Samuel Goldwyn.
The Hollywood Heritage Museum, also known as the "Hollywood Studio Museum," is located on Highland Ave. in Hollywood, California, United States.
Frank Yablans was an American studio executive, film producer and screenwriter. Yablans served as an executive at Paramount Pictures, including President of the studio, in the 1960s and 70s. As a filmmaker, he is best known for writing and producing the film Mommie Dearest (1981), which was nominated for nine Razzies at the 2nd Golden Raspberry Awards, including "winning" Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay for Yablans.
William Wadsworth Hodkinson, known more commonly as W. W. Hodkinson, was born in Independence, Kansas. Known as The Man Who Invented Hollywood, he opened one of the first movie theaters in Ogden, Utah in 1907 and within just a few years changed the way movies were produced, distributed, and exhibited. He became a leading West Coast film distributor in the early days of motion pictures and in 1912 he co-founded and became president of the first nationwide film distributor, Paramount Pictures Corporation. Hodkinson was also responsible for doodling the mountain that became the Paramount logo in 1914. After being driven out of Paramount, he established his own independent distribution company, the W. W. Hodkinson Corporation, in 1917, before selling it off in 1924. He left the motion picture business in 1929 to form Hodkinson Aviation Corporation, and later formed the Central American Aviation Corporation and Companía Nacional de Aviación in Guatemala.
Jesse Louis Lasky was an American pioneer motion picture producer who was a key founder of Paramount Pictures with Adolph Zukor and William Wadsworth Hodkinson, and father of screenwriter Jesse L. Lasky Jr.
Marcus Loew was an American business magnate and a pioneer of the motion picture industry who formed Loew's Theatres and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio (MGM).
The Famous Players Film Company was a film company founded in 1912 by Adolph Zukor in partnership with the Frohman brothers, powerful New York City theatre impresarios. Discussions to form the company were held at The Lambs, a famous theater club where Charles and Daniel Frohman were members. The company advertised "Famous Players in Famous Plays" and its first release was the French film Les Amours de la reine Élisabeth (1912) starring Sarah Bernhardt and Lou Tellegen. Its first actual production was The Count of Monte Cristo, directed by Edwin S. Porter and starring James O'Neill, the father of dramatist Eugene O'Neill.
A studio system is a method of filmmaking wherein the production and distribution of films is dominated by a small number of large movie studios. It is most often used in reference to Hollywood motion picture studios during the Golden Age of Hollywood from the 1920s to 1960s, wherein studios produced films primarily on their own filmmaking lots with creative personnel under often long-term contract, and dominated exhibition through vertical integration, i.e., the ownership or effective control of distributors and exhibition, guaranteeing additional sales of films through manipulative booking techniques such as block booking.
Famous Players-Lasky Corporation was an American motion picture and distribution company formed on July 19, 1916 from the merger of Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Film Company—originally formed by Zukor as Famous Players in Famous Plays—and the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company.
Famous Players may refer to
Samuel Goldwyn Productions was an American film production company founded by Samuel Goldwyn in 1923, and active through 1959. Personally controlled by Goldwyn and focused on production rather than distribution, the company developed into the most financially and critically successful independent production company in Hollywood's Golden Age.
Liberty Films was an independent motion picture production company founded in California by Frank Capra and Samuel J. Briskin in April 1945. It produced only two films, the Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946), originally released by RKO Radio Pictures, and the film version of the hit play State of the Union (1948), originally released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Liberty Films' logo was the Liberty Bell ringing loudly.
Hiram Abrams was an early American movie mogul and one of the first presidents of Paramount Pictures. He was also the first managing director of United Artists.
Mary Pickford (1892–1979) was a Canadian-American motion picture actress, producer, and writer. During the silent film era she became one of the first great celebrities of the cinema and a popular icon known to the public as "America's Sweetheart".
The Captive is an American silent-era film released on April 22, 1915. It was released on five reels. The film was written, directed, edited, and produced by Cecil B. DeMille. Jesse L. Lasky was another producer and Jeanie MacPherson worked with DeMille to write the screenplay. The film is based on a play written by Cecil B. DeMille and Jeanie MacPherson. The Captive grossed just over $56,000. On a budget of only $12,154. Blanche Sweet stars as Sonia Martinovich, alongside House Peters who stars as Mahmud Hassan. The film details the romantic war-era plight of Montenegrin protagonist, Sonia Martinovich, and her Turkish lover, Mahmud Hassan.
Berg, A. Scott (2013). Goldwyn: A Biography. New York City: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4711-3006-9.
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