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Samuel Goldwyn

 

Samuel Goldwyn, also known as Samuel Goldfish, was a Polish-American film producer. He was most well 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.
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.
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 then had his name legally changed to Samuel Goldwyn, which he used for the rest of his life. Goldwyn Pictures proved successful but it is their "Leo the Lion" trademark for which the organization is most famous.
During that time, Goldwyn made numerous films and reigned as the most successful independent producer in the US. Many of his films were forgettable; his collaboration with John Ford, however, resulted in Best Picture Oscar nomination for Arrowsmith (1931). 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 of Goldwyn films, especially those directed by Wyler, were also Oscar-nominated for their performances. Throughout the 1930s, he released all his films through United Artists, but beginning in 1941, and continuing almost through the end of his career, Goldwyn released his films through RKO Radio Pictures.
In his final film, made in 1959, 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. Released by Columbia Pictures, the film was nominated for three Oscars, but won only one. 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 huge disappointment to 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.