John Marley portraying Jack Woltz
|First appearance||The Godfather|
|Last appearance||The Godfather|
|Created by||Mario Puzo|
|Portrayed by||John Marley|
In the film
Woltz is a Jewish film producer who refuses to cast the singer/actor Johnny Fontane in a war film that would revive Johnny's flagging career. Fontane asks Vito Corleone, the head of the Corleone crime family and his godfather, to lean on Woltz. Corleone sends his consigliere, Tom Hagen, to Hollywood to "reason" with Woltz.
Hagen offers to help Woltz with union trouble in return for casting Fontane. Woltz loses his temper, shouting anti-Italian slurs at Hagen, and refuses to bargain. Later, after learning Hagen represents Vito Corleone, he appears more eager to listen, even inviting Hagen to dinner at his palatial estate. However, in the end, Woltz still refuses to cast Fontane, explaining to Hagen that Fontane had run off with one of his young female stars-in-the-making (with whom Woltz had been having an affair) and made him appear ridiculous. Hagen makes a veiled threat in response, which Woltz laughs off.
The following morning (in one of the most famous scenes in film history), Woltz wakes up to find the severed head of his prized stud horse, Khartoum, in his bed with him and screams in horror. Though he phones the Corleones and furiously threatens to bring the law on their heads, he eventually gives in to their wishes and casts Fontane.
In the novel
In the novel, Woltz is portrayed as a man who has achieved great success in the film industry, having come up from nothing. During World War II, he became the White House's propaganda adviser, obtaining a large government contract as well as political contacts in the process, in addition to an acquaintance with J. Edgar Hoover. It is also revealed that he is a pedophile who routinely molests young girls who audition for his movies, as well as the daughters of some of his actresses. (Although this aspect of the character is edited out of the film, it is made apparent in at least one deleted scene.)
When Johnny Fontane is nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the film, a spiteful Woltz bribes or threatens nearly everyone in Hollywood to keep him from winning. He is again thwarted by the Corleone Family, however; Vito calls in several favors, and Fontane wins, eventually opening a Corleone-funded production company that soon rivals Woltz Pictures. Fontane politely telephones Woltz to thank him for everything, but Woltz hangs up after a curt conversation.
In the video game
In the game The Godfather: The Game, the player is sent on a mission to Hollywood for one of the stages. Being outside of New York City, he has no map to rely on. The player is ordered by Tom Hagen to decapitate Khartoum, with the help of Rocco Lampone, a Corleone soldier. The player then must sneak the head into Woltz's bedroom, all the while being quiet enough so as not to alert any of the security guards or cleaning ladies who are employed by Woltz. Successfully completing the stage will launch a reenactment of the infamous "horse head" scene.