Arnon Milchan

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Arnon Milchan
Born (1944-12-06) December 6, 1944 (age 76)
NationalityIsraeli
CitizenshipIsrael
U.S.
OccupationBusinessman, film producer
Known forFounder of Regency Enterprises
Net worthUS$4.1 billion (June 2020)[1]
Spouse(s)Brigitte Genmaire (divorced)
Amanda Coetzer
Children4

Arnon Milchan (Hebrew: ארנון מילצ'ן‎; December 6, 1944) is an Israeli billionaire businessman and film producer. He has been involved in over 130 full-length motion pictures[2] and is the founder of production company Regency Enterprises. Regency's film credits include 12 Years a Slave, JFK, Heat, Fight Club, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Milchan has earned two nominations for the Academy Award for Best Picture, for L.A. Confidential and The Revenant. He is an Israeli and American citizen, and lives in Tel Aviv.

Milchan was an Israeli intelligence operative from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s.[3][4]

Biography[edit]

Milchan was born in Rehovot, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel), to a Jewish family.[5][6] He has a sister named Dalia. His mother was descended from European Jewish disciples of the rabbi Vilna Gaon who came to Palestine in the early 19th century, and he is the eighth generation of his family in the country.

Milchan was first married to French model, Brigitte Genmaire, and later divorced. The couple had three children, Elinor, Alexandra, and Yariv. Elinor Milchan is a professional photographer.[7] He later married South African retired professional tennis player Amanda Coetzer.

Business career[edit]

His father owned a fertilizer company,[8] which Milchan inherited at the age of 21 upon his father's sudden death. Over the years, Milchan turned the company into a successful chemical business.[9] He also earned a degree from the London School of Economics, before he and his company (Milchan Brothers Ltd.) were recruited to Lekem, a secret Israeli intelligence organization responsible for obtaining technology and material for Israel's nuclear program, and other highly secretive programs.[10]

Film industry[edit]

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 acquired a net worth estimated at about $5.1 billion as of 2015.

Milchan has produced over 130 films, such as Noah (2014), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Once Upon a Time in America (1984) (in which he also makes a cameo appearance as the chauffeur), Brazil (1985), Pretty Woman (1990), JFK (1991), Under Siege (1992), Natural Born Killers (1994), Boys on the Side (1995), Heat (1995), L.A. Confidential (1997), Fight Club (1999), Unfaithful (2002), Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005), and Knight and Day (2010), among others, to his credit.[2] He was a producer on two more recent Oscar-winners for Best Motion Picture, 12 Years a Slave in 2014 and Birdman in 2015, but he was not listed as a producer in the nominees list.

Milchan is also the owner of the WTA broadcasting rights. He was married to model Brigitte Genmaire.[8] 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 international sportswear line.

Intelligence operative[edit]

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, which could be used as nuclear weapon triggers, through one of Milchan's companies. This remained largely in the category of rumor until biographers Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman wrote a controversial unauthorized biography of Milchan that was published in July 2011. The biography Confidential, which is largely sympathetic to Milchan, revealed in detail how he involved himself in espionage, big-ticket arms-dealing, and obtaining sensitive technology and materials for Israel's 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, Lekem. 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".[3] 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, Milchan confirmed on camera the central claims in the book Confidential that had been released earlier. The announcement caused international interest in the story and was covered widely.[11]

Peres, the architect of Israel's secret nuclear weapons program in the 1960s, stated that in the 1960s he recruited Milchan to work for the Israeli Bureau of Scientific Relations (LEKEM or LAKAM), a secret intelligence organization tasked with obtaining military technology and science espionage. Milchan acknowledged that he was a secret arms dealer for the Israeli government and claimed to have used his connections to promote the apartheid regime in South Africa in exchange for it helping Israel to acquire uranium for its nuclear program.[12]

Case 1000 and "Milchan's Law"[edit]

In February 2018, Israeli Police recommended that Arnon Milchan, alongside Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, be charged with bribery.[13] The recommendation in the case, nicknamed "Case 1000", relates to alleged bribes Milchan provided to Netanyahu in exchange for special tax exemption legislation believed to benefit Milchan in his homeland of Israel.[14] The proposed legislation, nicknamed "Milchan's Law", dates back to 2013 and was an alleged ploy to extend Milchan's status as a returning resident to allow him to take advantage of tax breaks. According to the police, the gifts from Milchan were worth more than 1 million shekels.[15]

Art collection[edit]

Milchan is an art collector, and in April 2015, CNBC ranked him at No. 3 in their list of "Hollywood's top 10 art collectors" with a collection valued at $600 million, equal with George Lucas, ranked No. 2, but some way behind David Geffen at No. 1, with a collection valued at $2.3 billion.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Milchan is married, with four children, and lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.[1]

Production companies[edit]

Filmography[edit]

He was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.

Film[edit]

As producer

As executive producer


Miscellaneous crew
Year Film Role
1977 Black Joy Presenter
1978 The Medusa Touch In association with
1985 Brazil Presenter
1987 Man on Fire
As an actor
Year Film Role
1983 Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? Customer at Café
1984 Once Upon a Time in America Chauffeur
Thanks
Year Film Role
2007 The Killing Floor Special thanks

Television[edit]

Year Title Credit Notes
1981 Masada Supervising producer
1994 Free Willy Executive producer
1995–96 The Client Executive producer
1997 Michael Hayes Executive producer
1999 The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer Television film
2000 Noriega: God's Favorite Executive producer Television film
2018 L.A. Confidential Executive producer Television pilot

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Doron, Meir; Gelman, Joseph (2011) Confidential The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon – Arnon Milchan Gefen Books, New York. ISBN 978-0-615-43381-3

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Forbes profile: Arnon Milchan". Forbes. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Arnon Milchan". IMDb.
  3. ^ a b Cieply, Michael (July 17, 2011). "New Book Tells Tale of Israeli Arms Dealer in Hollywood". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Hollywood Producer Was an Israeli Nuclear Agent". Haaretz.
  5. ^ "The world's 50 Richest Jews: 41–50". The Jerusalem Post - JPost.com.
  6. ^ Bloom, Nate (February 25, 2016). "The tribe at the Oscars, 2016". Times of Israel.
  7. ^ Azoulay, Ellie Armon (July 29, 2010). "Shooting in the Dark". Retrieved January 26, 2018 – via Haaretz.
  8. ^ a b "Arnon Milchan Biography (1944–)". filmreference.com.
  9. ^ "the last Tycoon". highbeam.com. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014.
  10. ^ "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, The Independent, November 22, 2013
  11. ^ Caspi, David (November 21, 2013). "Arnon Milchan Admits to Arms Dealing in the '70s". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  12. ^ Harriet Sherwood. "Arnon Milchan reveals past as Israeli spy". The Guardian.
  13. ^ David Caspi. "Israeli Police Recommend Charging Producer Arnon Milchan With Bribery". The Hollywood Reporter.
  14. ^ Hendrix, Steve; Eglash, Ruth (November 21, 2019). "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust". The Washington Post. Netanyahu also allegedly pressed the United States repeatedly to give Milchan a U.S. visa and, in Israel, pushed the finance minister to extend an income tax exemption that would benefit the producer.
  15. ^ Debra Kamin. "Israeli Police Recommend Arnon Milchan, Benjamin Netanyahu Be Charged With Bribery". Variety.
  16. ^ Berk, Christina Cheddar (April 29, 2015). "Hollywood's top 10 art collectors". CNBC. Retrieved January 26, 2016.

External links[edit]