Joseph M. Schenck

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Joseph Schenck)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the vaudeville star, Joseph Thuma Schenck (1891–1930), see Van and Schenck.
Joseph Schenck
Joseph Schenck.jpg
with Darryl F. Zanuck (r), 1937
Born (1878-12-25)December 25, 1878
Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Governorate, Russian Empire (present-day Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia)
Died October 22, 1961(1961-10-22) (aged 82)
Los Angeles, California
Spouse(s) Norma Talmadge (1916–1934)
Relatives Nicholas Schenck (brother)

Joseph Michael Schenck (/ˈskɛŋk/; December 25, 1878 – October 22, 1961) was an American film executive. He played a key role in the development of the American film industry.

Life and career[edit]

Schenck was born in Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia to Jewish parents. He and his family  – including younger brother Nicholas  – emigrated to New York City in 1893, he and Nicholas eventually got into the entertainment business operating concessions at New York's Fort George Amusement Park. Recognizing the potential, in 1909 the Schenck brothers purchased Palisades Amusement Park and after that became participants in the fledgling motion picture industry as partners with Marcus Loew, operating a chain of movie theaters. Through his involvement in the film business, in 1916 Joseph Schenck met and married Norma Talmadge, one of the top young stars with Vitagraph Studios.

After parting ways with his brother, Joseph Schenck moved to the West Coast where the future of the film industry seemed to lie. Within a few years the brilliant and ambitious Schenck was made the second<Schickel, Richard. D.W. Griffith His Life and Work 1985.> president of the new United Artists. In 1933 he partnered with Darryl F. Zanuck to create 20th Century Pictures that merged with Fox Film Corporation in 1935. As chairman of the new 20th Century Fox he was one of the most powerful and influential people in the film business.

Caught in a payoff scheme to buy peace with the militant unions, he was convicted of income tax evasion and spent time in prison before being granted a presidential pardon. Following his release, he returned to 20th Century Fox where he became infatuated with a young actress named Marilyn Monroe and played a key role in launching her career.

One of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in 1952 he was given a special Academy Award in recognition of his very significant contribution to the development of the film industry. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6757 Hollywood Blvd.

Joseph Schenck retired in 1957 and shortly after suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. He died in Los Angeles in 1961 at the age of 82 and was interred in Maimonides Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

External links[edit]