William Fox in 1921
January 1, 1879
|Died||May 8, 1952 73) (aged|
|Resting place||Salem Fields Cemetery, Brooklyn|
William Fox(born Wilhelm Fuchs; January 1, 1879 – May 8, 1952) was a Hungarian-American motion picture executive who founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915 and the Fox West Coast Theatres chain in the 1920s. Although he lost control of his movie businesses in 1930, his name was used by 20th Century Fox and continues to be used in the trademarks of the present-day Fox Corporation, including the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News, and Fox Sports.
Fox was born in Tolcsva, Hungaryand originally named Vilmos Fuchs. His parents, Michael Fuchs and Hannah Fried, were both Hungarian Jews. The family immigrated to the United States when William was nine months old and settled in New York City, where they had twelve more children, of whom only six survived. William once sold candy in Central Park, worked as a newsboy, and worked in the fur and garment industry as a youth.
In 1900, Fox started his own company, which he sold in 1904 to purchase his first nickelodeon. Always more of an entrepreneur than a showman, he concentrated on acquiring and building theaters. Beginning in 1914, New Jersey-based Fox bought films outright from the Balboa Amusement Producing Company in Long Beach, California, for distribution to his own theaters and then for rental to other theaters across the country. He formed the Fox Film Corporation on February 1, 1915, with insurance and banking money provided by the McCarter, Kuser and Usar families of Newark, New Jersey, and the small New Jersey investment house of Eisele and King. The company's first film studio was leased in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where many other early film studios were based at the beginning of the 20th century.He now had the capital to acquire facilities and expand his production capacity.
In 1925–1926, Fox purchased the rights to the work of Freeman Harrison Owens, the U.S. rights to the Tri-Ergon system invented by three German inventors (Josef Engl (1893–1942), Hans Vogt (1890–1979), and Joseph Massolle (1889–1957)), and the work of Theodore Case to create the Fox Movietone sound-on-film system, introduced in 1927 with the release of F. W. Murnau's Sunrise . Sound-on-film systems such as Movietone and RCA Photophone soon became the standard, and competing sound-on-disc technologies, such as Warner Bros.' Vitaphone, became obsolete. From 1928 to 1964, Fox Movietone News was one of the major newsreel series in the U.S., along with The March of Time (1935–1951) and Universal Newsreel (1929–1967).
Following the 1927 death of Marcus Loew, head of the parent company of rival studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, control of MGM passed to his longtime associate, Nicholas Schenck. Fox saw an opportunity to expand his empire, and in 1929, with Schenck's assent, bought the Loew family's MGM holdings, unbeknownst to studio bosses Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg who were outraged, since, despite their high posts at MGM, they were not shareholders. Mayer used his strong political connections to persuade the Justice Department to sue Fox for violating federal antitrust laws. During this time, in the middle of 1929, Fox was badly hurt in an automobile accident. By the time he recovered, the stock market crash in October 1929 had wiped out virtually his entire fortune, ending any chance of the Loews-Fox merger going through even if the Justice Department had approved it.
Fox lost control of his Fox Film Corporation in 1930 during a hostile takeover. In 1935, Fox Film Corporation would merge with 20th Century Pictures, becoming 20th Century-Fox, which was later renamed "20th Century Fox" and, after the 2019 purchase of the firm from Fox Corporation by the Walt Disney Company, "20th Century Studios." William Fox never had any involvement with the film studio that famously bore his name. A combination of the stock market crash, Fox's car accident injuries, and government antitrust action, forced him into a protracted seven-year legal battle to stave off bankruptcy. At his bankruptcy hearing in 1936, he attempted to bribe judge John Warren Davis and committed perjury. In 1943, Fox served a five-month and seventeen day sentence on charges of conspiring to obstruct justice and defraud the United States, in connection with his bankruptcy.After serving his time, Fox retired from the film business.
For many years, Fox resented the way that Wall Street had forced him from control of his company. In 1933, he collaborated with the writer Upton Sinclair on a book Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox in which Fox recounted his life, and stating his views on what he considered to be a large Wall Street conspiracy against him.
His death in 1952 at the age of 73 went largely unnoticed by the film industry; No one from Hollywood attended his funeral. Fox is interred at Salem Fields Cemetery, Brooklyn.
Fox personally oversaw the construction of many Fox Theatres in American cities including Atlanta, Detroit, Oakland, San Francisco and San Diego.
His companies had an estimated value of $300,000,000 and he personally owned 53 percent of Fox Film and 93 percent of the Fox Theaters.
Fox was married to Eva Leo (1881–1962)and had two daughters.
The Fox Film Corporation was an American company that produced motion pictures, formed by William Fox on February 1, 1915. It was the corporate successor to his earlier Greater New York Film Rental Company and Box Office Attractions Film Company.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. One of the world's oldest film studios, MGM's corporate headquarters are located at 245 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
7th Heaven is a 1927 American silent romantic drama directed by Frank Borzage, and starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. The film is based upon the 1922 play Seventh Heaven, by Austin Strong and was adapted for the screen by Benjamin Glazer. 7th Heaven was initially released as a standard silent film in May 1927. On September 10, 1927, Fox Film Corporation re-released the film with a synchronized Movietone soundtrack with a musical score and sound effects.
20th Century Studios, Inc. is an American film studio that is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The studio is located on the Fox Studio Lot in the Century City area of Los Angeles. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures distributes and markets the films produced by 20th Century Studios.
A newsreel is a form of short documentary film, containing news stories and items of topical interest, that was prevalent between the 1910s and the mid 1970s. Typically presented in a cinema, newsreels were a source of current affairs, information, and entertainment for millions of moviegoers. Newsreels were typically exhibited preceding a feature film, but there were also dedicated newsreel theaters in many major cities in the 1930s and ’40s, and some large city cinemas also included a smaller theaterette where newsreels were screened continuously throughout the day.
Nicholas M. Schenck was an American film studio executive and businessman.
Major film studios are production and distribution companies that release a substantial number of films annually and consistently command a significant share of box office revenue in a given market. In the American and international markets, the major film studios, often simply known as the majors, are commonly regarded as the five diversified media conglomerates whose various film production and distribution subsidiaries collectively command approximately 80 to 85% of U.S. box office revenue. The term may also be applied more specifically to the primary motion picture business subsidiary of each respective conglomerate.
Loews Cineplex Entertainment, also known as Loews Incorporated, founded on June 23, 1904 by Marcus Loew, was the oldest theater chain operating in North America. From 1924 until 1959, it was also the parent company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM).
Movietone News is a newsreel that ran from 1928 to 1963 in the United States. Under the name British Movietone News, it also ran in the United Kingdom from 1929 to 1979, In France also produced by Fox-Europa, in Australia and New Zealand until 1970, and Germany as Fox Tönende Wochenschau.
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.
Thomas White Lamb (1871–1942) was a Scottish-born, American architect. He is noted as one of the foremost designers of theaters and cinemas in the 20th century.
William B. "Bill" Goetz was an American film producer and studio executive. Goetz was one of the founders of Twentieth Century Pictures, later renamed 20th Century Fox. He served as Fox's vice president and later became the head of production at Universal-International.
Twentieth Century Pictures, Inc., was an independent Hollywood motion picture production company created in 1933 by Joseph Schenck and Darryl F. Zanuck from Warner Bros. Financial backing came from Schenck's younger brother Nicholas Schenck, president of Loew's, the theater chain that owned Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Louis B. Mayer of MGM, who wanted a position for his son-in-law, William Goetz, Bank of America and Herbert J. Yates owner of the film processing laboratory Consolidated Film Industries, who later founded Republic Pictures Corporation in 1935. . The company product was distributed by United Artists (UA), and leased space at Samuel Goldwyn Studios.
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).
Metro Pictures Corporation was a motion picture production company founded in early 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a forerunner of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The company produced its films in New York, Los Angeles, and sometimes at leased facilities in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It was purchased in 1919.
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.
Richard A. Rowland was an American studio executive and film producer.
A major fire broke out in a 20th Century-Fox film-storage facility in Little Ferry, New Jersey, United States, on July 9, 1937. Flammable nitrate film had previously contributed to several fires in film-industry laboratories, studios, and vaults, although the precise causes were often unknown. In Little Ferry, gases produced by decaying film, combined with high temperatures and inadequate ventilation, resulted in spontaneous combustion.
Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox is a 1933 non-fiction work by the American writer Upton Sinclair. Sinclair based the book on a series of interviews he had conducted with William Fox, a former Hollywood film tycoon. The title was a reference to the screen credit "William Fox Presents" which appeared at the start of films.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to William Fox (producer) .|