Sam Spiegel

Sam Spiegel

Garson Kanin wrote that for a while, he was known as S.P. Eagle, and that in temperament, mien, method and looks, he certainly resembled a predatory bird.

According to his biographer Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, Spiegel used the casting couch quite liberally to dole out roles to actresses in his production of The Chase (1966). He had not been able to behave that way during the production of his two earlier Oscar-winning productions, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962), as they had had virtually all-male casts.

Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 752-753. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.

Considered On the Waterfront (1954) director Elia Kazan one of his closest friends.

Fled Berlin upon the rise to power of Adolf Hitler.

His relationship with playwright/screenwriter Harold Pinter was rooted in a father-son dynamic, according to biographer Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni. Spiegel was quite taken with Pinter's genius, so much so it hurt the film adaptation of The Last Tycoon (1976), wrote "Tycoon" director Elia Kazan in his own autobiography, as Spiegel treated the screenplay as sacrosanct and wouldn't let Kazan change it to create more dramatic tension.

Lived in Palestine as a young man in the 1920s. After marrying his first wife in Vienna, they lived in Jersusalem,

Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969

Originally worked in films using the pseudonym "S.P. Eagle".

Owned a large yacht in his later years. The yacht was based on the French Riviera.

Was quite fond of Marlon Brando, who won his first Best Actor Oscar in the Spiegel-produced Best Picture winner On the Waterfront (1954). When casting Brando in The Chase (1966), Spiegel was worried that motorcycle enthusiast Brando would kill himself like James Dean had, in an accident. (Brando had had lacerated his knee while biking before filming began.) Spiegel constantly queried "Chase" director Arthur Penn as to whether Brando had brought his motorbike with him to the filming. When Brando got wind of this, he had his motorcycle brought over to the set to play a joke on Spiegel, who quickly arrived at the shooting to see that Brando didn't drive it. When Spiegel found out it was all a joke, the normally taciturn producer laughed heartily.