December 6, 1944 |
Rehovot, British Mandate of Palestine
|Net worth||$4.2 billion USD (Sept 2013)|
|Spouse(s)||Brigitte Genmaire (divorced)
Arnon Milchan (Hebrew: ארנון מילצ'ן; December 6, 1944) is an Israeli Hollywood film producer who has produced over 120 full-length motion pictures. Mr. Milchan, a multi-billionaire, was also a former key Israeli intelligence operative from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. Milchan's films include The War of the Roses, Once Upon a Time in America, Pretty Woman, Natural Born Killers, Under Siege, The Devil's Advocate, The Fountain, Unfaithful, L.A. Confidential and many others. He is an Israeli citizen, and a resident of Israel.
Milchan was born in Rehovot, British Mandate for Palestine, in 1944. His family is Jewish. His father owned a fertilizer company, which Milchan turned into a successful chemical business. He also earned a degree from the London School of Economics, before being recruited to LAKAM, a top secret Israeli intelligence organization responsible for obtaining technology and material for Israel's nuclear program, and other highly secretive programs.
Milchan is also the owner of the WTA broadcasting rights. He was married to model Brigitte Genmaire. He is now married to former South African tennis professional Amanda Coetzer. He is owner of the network which transmits Israeli television programming to the United States and Canada. He is also a part owner of Israel's TV Channel 10, and a former owner of Puma, the sportswear line.
Milchan became involved in the American movie business in 1977, after an introduction to American producer Elliot Kastner. Most notable among Milchan's film collaborations was his early work with Martin Scorsese. He developed close friendships with Robert De Niro, and directors Roman Polanski, Sergio Leone, Terry Gilliam and Oliver Stone. Milchan started his own production company in 1991 called New Regency Productions. Through his company Regency, in partnership with Warner Brothers, and later with Rupert Murdoch at 20th Century Fox, and other business ventures, such as Puma AG, Milchan attained a net worth estimated at about $4.2 billion as of 2013, and is listed as the 290th richest person in the world, and the fourth richest person in Israel by Forbes.
Arnon Milchan has produced over 120 films, and is recognized as one of the most prolific producers in Hollywood history, with films such as Once Upon a Time in America (1984) (in which he also makes a cameo appearance as the chauffeur), Brazil (1985), Pretty Woman (1990), Under Siege (1992), Natural Born Killers (1994), Boys on the Side (1995), L.A. Confidential (1997), Unfaithful (2002), and Knight and Day (2010), among others, to his credit.
Speculation about Milchan's involvement in arms dealing and intelligence activities was sparked after the indictment in 1985 of Dr. Richard Kelly Smyth, an aerospace executive and scientist who had made illegal shipments of Krytrons (nuclear triggers) through one of Milchan's companies. This remained hearsay until biographers Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman confirmed in a book published July 2011, that Mr. Milchan was indeed involved in espionage, big-ticket arms-dealing, and obtaining sensitive technology and materials for Israel nuclear weapons program. The research in Confidential - The Life Of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon established that "at least through the mid-1980s [Milchan] was a full-fledged operative for Israel’s top-secret intelligence agency, Lakam. His activities included "buying components to build and maintain Israel’s nuclear arsenal" and supervising "government-backed accounts and front companies that financed the special needs of the entirety of Israel’s intelligence operations outside the country.". Interviewed regarding Milchan's intelligence activities, Israeli President Shimon Peres stated:
"Arnon is a special man. It was I who recruited him.... When I was at the Ministry of Defense, Arnon was involved in numerous defense-related procurement activities and intelligence operations. His strength is in making connections at the highest levels.... His activities gave us a huge advantage, strategically, diplomatically and technologically." (interview dated February 8, 2010, documented in Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman's "Confidential: Secret Agent turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan" p. xi).
Two years later, on November 25, 2013, on Israel's channel 2 documentary program Uvda, Mr. Milchan himself publicly admitted on camera to carrying out Israeli authorized covert operations involving, among other things, obtaining nuclear weapons materials and technology for the Israeli government throughout the 1970s to the mid 1980s. Thus, confirming publicly on camera the central claims in the book 'Confidential' that had been released earlier. The announcement sparked worldwide media interest in the story. 
- Forbes: "The World's Billionaires - Arnon Milchan" September 2013
- Arnon Milchan Biography (1944-)
- The Independent: "Revealed: Arnon Milchan - the Hollywood producer behind hits Pretty Woman, Fight Club and LA Confidential who became a real-life James Bond" by Tim Walker November 22, 2013
- Arnon Milchan - Forbes, Forbes.com. Retrieved May 2011.
- Arnon Milchan page at IMDB
- "Arnon Milchan Admits to Arms Dealing in the '70s". the Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-11-26.