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 famous singer/actor Johnny Fontane in a war film that could revive Fontane's flagging career. Fontane asks his godfather, Vito Corleone, the head of the Corleone crime family to pressure Woltz into giving him the part. Corleone sends his consigliere, Tom Hagen, to Hollywood to "reason" with Woltz.
Hagen offers Woltz a benefactor's help with his upcoming union trouble in return for casting Fontane. Woltz, furious, shouts anti-Italian slurs at Hagen and refuses to bargain. Later, after learning Hagen represents Vito Corleone, Woltz is more receptive, even inviting Hagen his palatial estate. Woltz still refuses to cast Fontane, explaining to Hagen that Fontane ran off with one of his young female stars-in-the-making (with whom Woltz had been having an affair) and says he made him appear ridiculous. Hagen gives a veiled warning in response, which Woltz ignores.
The following morning (in one of the most famous scenes in film history), Woltz awakens to find his thoroughbred stallion's severed head in his bed, and screams in horror. He phones the Corleones and furiously threatens retaliation, but, realizing the risk, eventually relents and casts Fontane in his movie.
In the novel
In the novel, Woltz is portrayed as a self-made man who has achieved great success in the film industry, having risen to his position from practically 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 forming an acquaintance with J. Edgar Hoover. He is also a pedophile who routinely molests young girls who audition for his movies, as well some of his actresses' daughters. (Although this aspect of Woltz's character is edited from 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 prevent Fontane winning. The Corleone Family thwart Woltz once again; Vito calls in several favors, and Fontane wins the award, reviving his career and 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.