Samuel Goldwyn

Samuel Goldwyn

2002: Portrayed on Broadway in "Alan King as Mr. Goldwyn" by actor/comedian/producer Alan King. Play focuses on Goldwyn in early 1950s when he is making Hans Christian Andersen (1952).

At one time Goldwyn was scheduled to appear as the "Mystery Guest" on the TV game show "What's My Line?" (1950), in which panelists are blindfolded and have to guess who the Mystery Guest is. The show's rules required that panelists who found out the Mystery Guest's identity before he or she appeared on the show had to disqualify themselves. A few days before his scheduled appearance, Goldwyn ran into panelist Dorothy Kilgallen in a restaurant and said, "Guess what, Dorothy? I'm going to be on your show Sunday night!" She told him that since she now knew he would be the Mystery Guest, she'd have to disqualify herself. A few days later Goldwyn ran into Bennett Cerf, also a panelist on the show, and said, "Guess what, Bennett? I did a really dumb thing the other day and told Dorothy that I'm going to be on your show Sunday night!" Cerf also was forced to disqualify himself, resulting in the only double disqualification in the show's history.

Father of Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and Ruth Capps. Grandfather of Tony Goldwyn and John Goldwyn.

His sayings, sometimes known as "Goldwynisms," were famous for their unintentional wit, which was partially as a result of his somewhat limited understanding of the English language that surfaced when he tried to comment on certain situations. There are many examples of this, such as "Include me out" or "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.".

In 1917 he merged his production company with All-Star Feature Films Corp., owned by brothers Edgar Selwyn and Archibald Selwyn, creating the Goldwyn Pictures Corp. The symbol of the new company was a reclining lion, surrounded by a banner made from a strip of celluloid film with the words "Ars Gratia Artis" ("Art for Art's Sake") at the top, which was designed by Howard Dietz. The trademark adorned the front gate of the studio's Culver City, California, production facilities, which ranked with the finest in Hollywood (the inspiration for the original "Leo the Lion" likely were the stone lions at the New York Public Library on 44th St., which was across from the All-Star Feature Corp.'s offices). Goldfish liked the name of the new studio so much that he renamed himself Samuel Goldwyn. He was forced out of the company in 1922. It was merged with Loew's Inc.'s Metro Pictures in 1924 through a stock swap, creating Metro-Goldwyn, which subsequently merged with Louis B. Mayer Productions, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was born--even though Goldwyn himself had nothing to do with the company that bore his name (he tried legal action to prevent the new company from using it, but lost). Goldwyn, who h

In his book "Hollywood", Garson Kanin wrote that over his lengthy career, the impressive list of writers that Samuel Goldwyn employed included Thornton Wilder, Edna Ferber, Francis Marion, Montague Glass, Joseph Hergesheimer, Elmer Rice, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, Morrie Ryskind, Howard Estabrook, Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, William Anthony McGuire, Nunnally Johnson, Willard Mack, Harry Wagstaff Gribble, Preston Sturges, Maxwell Anderson, Mordaun

In the 1930s and 1940s the Hollywood studio system was dominated by a handful of men who ran their domains largely by themselves, and with an iron hand: Louis B. Mayer (MGM), Adolph Zukor (Paramount), Harry Cohn (Columbia), Carl Laemmle (Universal), Jack L. Warner (Warner Bros.), Herbert J. Yates (Republic), Darryl F. Zanuck (Warners in the 1930s and 20th Century-Fox in the 1940s) and Goldwyn and David O. Selznick as independent producers. By 1959 all of these men--with the exception of Warner--had either died, retired or been forced out of their own companies.

Is portrayed by Olivier Pierre in RKO 281 (1999) (TV), by Lee Wallace in This Year's Blonde (1980) (TV) and by Vernon Weddle in Malice in Wonderland (1985) (TV)

Was forced out of Famous Players-Lasky on September 14, 1916, and incorporated Goldwyn Pictures with brothers Edgar Selwyn and Archibald Selwyn two months later on November 19, 1916. At that point in his career he needed the highly respected Selwyns, who were successful Broadway producers and owned a library of filmable plays. The Selwyns went into business with him because he had Mabel Normand, the biggest star in the movies, under contract. He had signed her to a personal contract on September 16, 1916, two days after resigning from Famous Players-Lasky. The contract was set to kick in after her contract with Mack Sennett expired in 1917. Normand had been voted the top movie comedienne in a July 1916 "Motion Pictures Magazine" readers' poll, and going into business with him gave the Selwyns access to her; without her, he would probably not have been able to convince the Selwyns to go into business with him. By partnering with him, they gained access to some of the finest production facilities in Hollywood and one of the top female stars.

When Goldwyn emigrated to the US, an Immigration Service clerk changed his last name from "Gelbfisz" to what he thought was its English translation, "Goldfish". Sam changed it to Goldwyn when he went into partnership with producer Edgar Selwyn, combining the first syllable of "Goldfish" with the last syllable of "Selwyn". He originally wanted to do the opposite, until someone pointed out that it would result in his new name being "Selfish".