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 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 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 Corleone, Woltz is more receptive, even inviting Hagen to his palatial estate. He still refuses to cast Fontane, explaining 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, Woltz awakens to find the head of his prized thoroughbred horse, Khartoum, in his bed and screams in horror. Realizing that his life is in danger, he 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 connections to political figures, including J. Edgar Hoover, in the process. 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 him from winning. The Corleone family thwarts 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's studio. Fontane politely telephones Woltz to thank him for everything, but Woltz hangs up after a curt conversation.
In Mark Winegardner's 2004 sequel The Godfather Returns, Hagen pays a visit to Woltz's estate ten years after the events in the original book and film. Woltz is cordial to both Hagen and Fontane, but Hagen observes that Woltz had removed all of the estate's beautiful landscaping and turned his home into an armed fortress, presumably so he could never be physically threatened again.
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 assist Rocco Lampone, a Corleone soldier, in the killing and decapitation of Khartoum. The player first must stand guard while Rocco performs the act, then must lead Rocco, carrying the horse's bloody head the whole time, to Woltz's bedroom. The task must be done without attracting the attention of Woltz's security detail or his maids and butlers, as doing so will set off the burglar alarm and foil the plan. Successfully completing the stage will launch a reenactment of the infamous "horse head" scene.