Goldwyn (Goldfish), Samuel

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GOLDWYN (Goldfish ), SAMUEL (1882–1974), U.S. motion-picture producer. Born in Warsaw, Poland, he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 13. He worked in a glove factory, and at the age of 30 owned a successful glove company. In 1913 Goldwyn entered the motion-picture industry as an associate of his brother-in-law, Jesse L. Lasky, and Cecil B. DeMille. Their first production, The Squaw Man (1914), perhaps the first feature-length film made in Hollywood, was an instant success. Two years later Goldwyn joined Edgar and Archibald Selwyn to form the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation (using the first syllable of Goldfish and the last of Selwyn), adopting the name as his own. In 1922 Goldwyn was fired from the company, which later merged with Metro Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions to become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Goldwyn became an independent producer, acquiring a reputation that none of his competitors could match. He endowed his films with talent and imagination, leaving his own distinctive mark on them. He introduced and produced many popular actors and hired distinguished writers, including Maurice Maeterlinck, Robert Sherwood, and Lillian *Hellman. His stars included Ronald Colman, Vilma Banky, Eddie *Cantor, Gary Cooper, David Niven, and Danny *Kaye.

Goldwyn became a legend in the film industry, and many malapropisms were attributed to him, such as "Include me out" and "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on." Between 1917 and 1959, Goldwyn produced more than 100 films. Some of his productions include Arrowsmith (1931), The Kid from Spain (1932), Wuthering Heights (1939), The Little Foxes (1941), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), The Best Yearsof Our Lives (1946), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), Enchantment (1948), Hans Christian Anderson (1952), Guys and Dolls (1955), and Porgy and Bess (1955).

Goldwyn was nominated for seven Academy Awards. In 1946 he won the Oscar for The Best Years of Our Lives and received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. In 1957 he was honored with the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and in 1973 he won the Golden Globe's Cecil B. De Mille Award for outstanding contribution to the entertainment field. Goldwyn wrote Behind the Screen (1923). He assigned his film profits to the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation for assisting scholars and philanthropic causes.

add. bibliography:

A. Marx, Goldwyn: A Biography of the Man Behind the Myth (1976); M. Freedland, The Goldwyn Touch (1986); S. Berg, Goldwyn: A Biography (1989); C. Easton, The Search for Sam Goldwyn: A Biography (1989).

[Jo Ranson /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]