Arthur Spiegel

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Arthur Henry Spiegel
Known forSpiegel catalog
Spouse(s)Mae Julia Oberfelder
ChildrenArthur Henry Spiegel II
Parent(s)Joseph Spiegel
RelativesSpike Jonze (great-grandson)
Sam Spiegel (great-grandson)

Arthur Spiegel was a Chicago mail-order businessman and early American film studio executive.


Spiegel was the youngest son of Jewish businessman Joseph Spiegel, founder of the Spiegel Home Furnishings merchandising house based in Chicago and the Spiegel catalog. He had little interest in the furnishing business. He asked his father to allow him to begin selling by mail order. His father agreed, and in a short time the mail order business outstripped the home furnishings business, which the family then closed to concentrate on mail order. Shortly after, in 1914, Spiegel left the mail order business and started in the film business as the partner of Jack Warner and Lewis J. Selznick.

Spiegel provided the investment backing to Lewis J. Selznick to start Equitable. In 1914, Spiegel again invested in Selznick to form the World Film Company headquartered in Fort Lee, New Jersey, the first American movie capital.

Under Selznick, World Film did not thrive and it was merged with Equitable, at which time Selznick was forced from the company, and Spiegel was made president and general manager of the new World Pictures. In a letter to Warner, shortly before his death, Spiegel apologized for not being able to attend an agreed meeting for World Pictures, explaining, "I have not been able to shake this cold." He died shortly afterwards, at 33, from pneumonia.

World Film had been created to import foreign-made features and to distribute the movies of several newly established feature-film companies, but later moved beyond distribution to produce films. In the early days of American film, World Pictures was one of the key studios.

Personal life[edit]

Spiegel has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One of his great-grandchildren, Adam, is a filmmaker and actor using the name Spike Jonze; and another is the DJ Sam Spiegel.


  • New York Times, WORLD FILM IN MERGER.; Acquires Stock of the Equitable -- A. Spiegel Heads New Concern, January 29, 1916, Page 7