January 1, 1879
|Died||May 8, 1952 73) (aged|
New York City, U.S.
|Resting place||Salem Fields Cemetery, Brooklyn|
Wilhelm Fried Fuchs (Hungarian : Fried Vilmos; January 1, 1879 – May 8, 1952),  commonly and better known as William Fox, was an American film industry 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 film businesses in 1930, his name was used by 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios ) and continues to be used in the trademarks of the present-day Fox Corporation, including the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News, Fox Sports and Foxtel.
Fox was born in Tolcsva, Hungary,  and originally named Wilhelm Fried Fuchs.  His parents, Michael Fuchs  and Anna 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. With his family largely destitute,  William found himself as a youth forced to sell candy  in Central Park, work as a newsboy, and in the fur and garment industry. At eight, he fell off the back of an ice truck, breaking his left arm; subsequent treatment left it permanently impaired. 
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. Following the purchase of his first nickelodeon, Fox would then use it to create a chain of movie theaters and purchase film prints from major film companies at the time such as Biograph, Essanay, Kalem, Lubin, Pathé, Selig, Phonoson-Coles, Tsereteli and Vitagraph.   In 1910, Fox managed to successfully lease the New York Academy of Music and convert it into a movie theater.  He also continued to focus his concentration in New York and New Jersey.  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. Between 1915 and 1919, Fox would rake in millions of dollars through films which featured Fox Film's first breakout star Theda Bara, known as "The Vamp", for her performance in A Fool There Was (1915), based on the 1909 Broadway production A Fool There Was by Porter Emerson Browne, in turn based on Rudyard Kipling's poem The Vampire, in turn inspired by Philip Burne-Jones's painting, The Vampire (1897), modelled by Mrs Patrick Campbell, Burne-Jones' lover and George Bernard Shaw's "second famed platonic love affair".      
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: A Song of Two Humans . 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). Despite the fact that his film studio was based in Hollywood, Fox opted to instead remain in New York and was more familiar with his financiers than with either his movie makers or movie stars.  Prominent Fox Film Corporation actress Janet Gaynor even acknowledged that she barely knew William Fox, stating "I only met him to say how do you do."  Gaynor also stated that Fox would rarely visit the Fox studio in Hollywood she frequently worked in when she worked with Fox's company and that his movies were mainly managed by his movie makers. 
Following the 1927 death of Marcus Loew, head of Loews Incorporated, 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 MGM 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 mid–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 organization in 1930 during a hostile takeover. In 1935, Fox Film Corporation would merge with 20th Century Pictures, becoming 20th Century-Fox. William Fox was never connected with the ownership, production or management of the movie 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.  Years after his prison release, U.S. President Harry Truman would grant Fox a Presidential pardon. 
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.
Fox died in 1952 at the age of 73. His death went largely unnoticed by the film industry; no one from Hollywood attended his funeral. He is interred at Salem Fields Cemetery, Brooklyn.
Fox personally oversaw the construction of many Fox Theatres in American cities including Atlanta, St Louis, Detroit, Portland, 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 Independent film production studio formed by William Fox (1879–1952) in 1915, by combining his earlier Greater New York Film Rental Company and Box Office Attractions Film Company.
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.
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).
While New York Sleeps is a 1920 American crime drama film produced by Fox Film Corporation and directed by Charles Brabin, who was the husband of actress Theda Bara. The film tells three distinct episodic stories using the same actors, Estelle Taylor and Marc McDermott. Long thought to be a lost film like many other Fox Film productions from this period, a copy of this movie is now in the collection of the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
A Holy Terror is a 1931 American pre-Code Western movie starring George O'Brien, Sally Eilers, Rita La Roy, and Humphrey Bogart. The film is an adaptation by Ralph Block, Alfred A. Cohn, and Myron C. Fagan of the novel Trailin'! by Max Brand. It was directed by Irving Cummings.
Wife Number Two is a 1917 American silent drama film feature directed and written by William Nigh. The film starred Valeska Suratt, vamp rival to Theda Bara on the Fox lot, and was Suratt's penultimate silent film performance. The film is now considered lost.
J. Gordon Edwards (1867–1925) was a Canadian American film director, screenwriter, and producer of the silent era. His oeuvre consists of over fifty feature films made between 1914 and 1924. He is perhaps best known for directing twenty-four films starring vamp actress Theda Bara—including Cleopatra, her most famous role— and also the 1921 epic The Queen of Sheba. Edwards was born in Montreal and educated at a military academy with the expectation that he would pursue a career as a British Army officer. He decided against a life in the military in favor of a future in theater. At the time, the Canadian theater and film industry was limited primarily to repertory theatre, so Edwards became one of many to emigrate to the United States to work in the field. He had a short career as an actor before becoming a stage director. By 1910, he was working for American motion picture producer William Fox, who sent him to Europe to study film production.
St. Elmo is a 1914 American silent drama film produced by the Balboa Amusement Producing Company and distributed by William Fox's Box Office Attractions Company. It was the first feature-length film adaptation of Augusta Jane Evans's 1866 novel of the same name. The story follows the life of the title character, who kills his cousin over the love of Agnes, falls from grace, and eventually finds redemption and love with Edna. It is disputed who directed the film; many sources credit Bertram Bracken, while others list St. Elmo as J. Gordon Edwards's directorial debut.
Woman Wise is a 1928 American silent comedy-drama film directed by Albert Ray and starring William Russell, June Collyer and Walter Pidgeon.
The Sin Sister is a lost 1929 American silent drama adventure film directed by Charles Klein and starring Nancy Carroll. It was produced and distributed by the Fox Film Corporation. The film was released with a music score and sound effects track.
The Plunderer is a 1915 American film directed by Edgar Lewis based on a 1912 mining novel by Roy Norton. The cast features William Farnum and Harry Spingler as honest miners and Claire Whitney as love interest Joan, daughter of a dishonest miner literally undermining their claim.
Plastered in Paris is a 1928 American comedy film directed by Benjamin Stoloff and starring Sammy Cohen, Jack Pennick and Lola Salvi.
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.
Two Girls Wanted, also known as 2 Girls Wanted, is a 1927 American silent comedy film directed by Alfred E. Green and starring Janet Gaynor, Glenn Tryon and Ben Bard.
Come to My House is a 1927 American silent drama film directed by Alfred E. Green and starring Olive Borden, Antonio Moreno and Ben Bard. Based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Somers Roche.
For Freedom is a 1918 American silent drama film directed by Frank Lloyd and starring William Farnum, Coit Albertson, and Rubye De Remer.
The Fool's Revenge is a 1916 American silent drama film directed by Will S. Davis and starring William H. Tooker, Richard Neill and Ruth Findlay.
Frank E. Hull (1882–1968) was an American film editor. He spent many years working for Fox Film and MGM.