December 6, 1944 |
Rehovot, British Mandate of Palestine
|Net worth||US$ 4.6 billion (2014)|
|Spouse(s)||Brigitte Genmaire (divorced)
Arnon Milchan (Hebrew: ארנון מילצ'ן; December 6, 1944) is an Israeli film producer who has produced over 130 full-length motion pictures. Milchan, a multi-billionaire and owner of New Regency Films, was also a former key Israeli intelligence operative from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s.
Arnon Milchan produced numerous critical and financial successes. After co-producing Pretty Woman, Milchan formed Regency Enterprises. Regency's film credits include Oscar winners and nominees, as well as popular financial hits, including 12 Years a Slave, L.A. Confidential, JFK, Heat, Fight Club, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and many more. He is considered one of the most prolific independent producers in Hollywood history. He is an Israeli citizen and a resident of Israel.
Milchan was born in Rehovot, British Mandate for Palestine, in 1944. His family is Jewish. His father owned a fertilizer company, 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. He also earned a degree from the London School of Economics, before he and his company (Milchan Brothers Ltd.) were recruited to LAKAM, a top secret Israeli intelligence organization responsible for obtaining technology and material for Israel's nuclear program, and other highly secretive programs.
Film industry, and other businesses
Arnon 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.
Arnon Milchan has produced over 130 films and is recognized as one of the most prolific producers in Hollywood history, with films such as Noah, 12 Years a Slave, Once Upon a Time in America (1984) (in which he also makes a cameo appearance as the chauffeur), Brazil (1985), Pretty Woman (1990), Under Siege (1992), Natural Born Killers (1994), Boys on the Side (1995), L.A. Confidential (1997), Unfaithful (2002), and Knight and Day (2010), among others, to his credit. He was a producer on the two most recent Oscar-winners for Best Motion Picture, 12 Years a Slave in 2014 and Birdman in 2015.
Milchan is also the owner of the WTA broadcasting rights. He was married to model Brigitte Genmaire. 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.
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 (nuclear 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 biography of Mr. Milchan that was published in July 2011. The biography Confidential, which is largely sympathetic to Mr. 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, Lakam. 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". 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, Mr. 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.
- "Arnon Milchan". Forbes. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- Cieply, Michael (July 17, 2011). "New Book Tells Tale of Israeli Arms Dealer in Hollywood". The New York Times.
- Arnon Milchan Biography (1944-)
- "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
- Arnon Milchan page at IMDB
- Caspi, David (November 21, 2013). "Arnon Milchan Admits to Arms Dealing in the '70s". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-11-26.