Darryl F. Zanuck
|Darryl F. Zanuck|
Zanuck in the 1940s
|Born||Darryl Francis Zanuck
September 5, 1902
|Died||December 22, 1979 (aged 77)
Palm Springs, California
Cause of death
|Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Other names||Gregory Rogers
|Spouse(s)||Virginia Fox (1924–56; separated)|
|Children||Richard D. Zanuck
Darryl Francis Zanuck (September 5, 1902 – December 22, 1979) was an American film studio executive and producer; he also contributed to the scripts of the films on which he worked. He played a major part in the Hollywood studio system as one of its longest survivors (the length of his career was rivaled only by that of Adolph Zukor). He earned three Academy Awards during his tenure.
Zanuck was born in Wahoo, Nebraska, to Louise (née Torpin) and Frank Zanuck, who owned and operated a hotel in Wahoo. Zanuck was of part Swiss descent and was raised a Protestant. At age six, Zanuck and his mother moved to Los Angeles, where the better climate could improve her poor health. At age eight, he found his first movie job as an extra, but his disapproving father recalled him to Nebraska.
Upon returning to the US, he worked in many part-time jobs while seeking work as a writer. He found work producing movie plots, and sold his first story in 1922 to William Russell and his second to Irving Thalberg. Screenwriter Frederica Sagor Maas, story editor at Universal Pictures' New York office, stated that one of the stories Zanuck sent out to movie studios around this time was completely plagiarized from another author's work.
Zanuck then worked for Mack Sennett and FBO (where he wrote the serials The Telephone Girl and The Leatherpushers) and took that experience to Warner Brothers, where he wrote stories for Rin Tin Tin and under a number of pseudonyms wrote over forty scripts from 1924 to 1929, including Red Hot Tires (1925) and Old San Francisco (1927). He moved into management in 1929, and became head of production in 1931.
In 1933, Zanuck left Warners over a salary dispute with studio head Jack Warner. A few days later, he partnered with Joseph Schenck to found 20th Century Pictures, Inc. with financial help from Joseph's brother Nicholas Schenck and Louis B. Mayer, President and Studio head of Loew's, Inc and its subsidiary Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, along with William Goetz and Raymond Griffith. 20th Century released its material through United Artists. During that short time (1933-1935), 20th Century became the most successful independent movie studio of its time, breaking box-office records with 18 of its 19 films, all in profitability, including Clive of India, Les Miserables and The House of Rothschild. In 1935, after a dispute with United Artists' board, Schenck and Zanuck negotiated and bought out the bankrupt Fox studios to become Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. Zanuck was president of this new studio and took an interventionist approach, closely involving himself in film editing and producing. Like the other heads of Hollywood studios, during the war he was commissioned as a Colonel in the Army Signal Corps. He returned to Twentieth Century-Fox in 1944.
In 1956, he withdrew from the studio and left his wife, Virginia Fox, to move to Europe and concentrate on independent producing. Many of his later films were designed, in part, to promote the careers of his successive girlfriends, Bella Darvi, Irina Demick, and Geneviève Gilles, and several movies he produced featured his girlfriend of thee [thou] moment, including the French singer Juliette Gréco.
He returned to control Fox in 1962, replacing Spyros Skouras, in a confrontation over the release of Zanuck's production of The Longest Day as the studio struggled to finish the difficult production of Cleopatra (1963). He made his son, Richard D. Zanuck, head of production. He later became involved in a power struggle with the board and his son, circa 1969. In May 1971, Zanuck was forced from "his" studio.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Darryl F. Zanuck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6336 Hollywood Blvd and won 3 Thalberg Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. On the present-day Fox lot, movies are shown in the Zanuck Theater.
Zanuck is a minor character in the fictional musical Bombshell, a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe during the first season of the TV series Smash and performs in the number "Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking."
|1932–33||Nominated||Outstanding Production||42nd Street|
|1934||Nominated||Outstanding Production||The House of Rothschild|
|1935||Nominated||Outstanding Production||Les Misérables|
|1937||Nominated||Outstanding Production||In Old Chicago|
|1938||Nominated||Outstanding Production||Alexander's Ragtime Band|
|1940||Nominated||Outstanding Production||The Grapes of Wrath|
|1941||Won||Outstanding Motion Picture||How Green Was My Valley|
|1944||Nominated||Outstanding Motion Picture||Wilson|
|1946||Nominated||Outstanding Motion Picture||The Razor's Edge|
|1947||Won||Outstanding Motion Picture||Gentleman's Agreement|
|1949||Nominated||Outstanding Motion Picture||Twelve O'Clock High|
|1950||Won||Outstanding Motion Picture||All About Eve|
|1956||Nominated||Best Picture||The King and I ("Darryl F. Zanuck presents" is seen in the opening credits)|
|1962||Nominated||Best Picture||The Longest Day|
- He said of actress Gene Tierney (whom he discovered after her Broadway appearance in The Male Animal) after her first film: she is "undeniably the most beautiful actress in movie history."
- In 1946, Zanuck said: "(Television) won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
- Per IMDb.
- Gussow, Mel (September 1, 2002). "FILM; Darryl F. Zanuck, Action Hero of the Studio Era". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
- Maas, Frederica Sagor (1999). The Shocking Miss Pilgrim: A Writer in Early Hollywood. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-8131-2122-1.
- Ilias Chrissochoidis (ed.), Spyros P. Skouras, Memoirs (1893–1953) (Stanford, 2013), 104.
- John Murray (2008). Charlotte Mosley, ed. In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh-Fermor.
- Hift, Fred (September 1, 1994). "The Longest Day". Cigar Aficionado. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- Biography for Darryl F. Zanuck at the Internet Movie Database
- Behlmer, Rudy (editor) (1993). Memo from Darryl F. Zanuck: The Golden Years at Twentieth Century-Fox. Grove. ISBN 0-8021-1540-3.
- Mosley, Leonard (1984). Zanuck: The Rise and Fall of Hollywood's Last Tycoon. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-58538-6.
- Thackrey Jr., Thomas. (December 23, 1979). "Darryl F. Zanuck, Last of Movie Moguls, Dies at 77". Los Angeles Times, p. 1.
- Chrissochoidis, Ilias (editor) (2013). The Cleopatra Files: Selected Documents from the Spyros P. Skouras Archive. Brave World. ISBN 978-0-61582-919-7.
- Chrissochoidis, Ilias (ed.). CinemaScope: Selected Documents from the Spyros P. Skouras Archive. Brave World, 2013. ISBN 978-0-61589-880-3.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Darryl F. Zanuck.|
- Darryl F. Zanuck at the Internet Movie Database
- The Zanucks: Reel Royalty from CBS News Sunday Morning, July 10, 2005. Accessed November 30, 2006.