Joseph Vogel (executive)

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Joseph Richard Vogel (September 7, 1895 – March 1, 1969) was an American executive best known for his stint at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, including a reign as president from 1956-63.


Vogel was born in New York and attended Townsend Harris High School. He started working part-time as an usher and at age 18 was appointed manager of the Fulton Theatre for Loews. He worked his way up Loew's Theatres and by 1945 was director of all their theatres.

In 1954 when government decree separated Loew's production and distribution actives from the exhibition company, Vogel was elected president of Loew's Inc.[1]

MGM Presidency[edit]

In October 1956 Vogel replaced Arthur M. Loew as president of MGM.[2]

He had to deal with a significant corporate turmoil, including a takeover attempt in 1957 from former president Louis B. Mayer in association with two board members, Stanley Meyer and Joseph Tomlinson. Mayer attacked Vogel calling him a "fool" and not "capable of filling the post - no more capable of filling it than you would be fighting the heavyweight champion."[3] However Vogel managed to fight off the takeover attempt and Mayer died of leukemia in 1957.[4]

Vogel and his head of production Sol Siegel initially enjoyed a number of successful years at MGM, green lighting such movies as Gigi (1958), North by Northwest (1959), King of Kings (1961) and most notably Ben Hur (1959).[5]

However they also oversaw a number of expensive flops, such as Cimarron (1960), Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1961), and especially Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), which ultimately caused millions in losses.

Vogel was forced to resign in January 1963, replaced by Robert O'Brien and kicked upstairs to the role of chairman. Four months later he retired to Palm Beach, where he eventually died of a heart attack.[1][6] He was survived by a wife Lena and son Richard. He was the brother of cinematographer Paul Vogel.

Notable Films Under His Presidency[edit]


  1. ^ a b 'Joseph Vogel, Ex-President and Chairman of MGM, Dies at 73', Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Mar 1969: B.
  2. ^ Joseph Vogel New President of Loew's Inc. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Oct 1956: 7.
  3. ^ Mayer Denies Role in MGM Power Struggle: Former Studio Head Calls ... Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Jul 24, 1957; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times (1881-1990) pg. 14
  4. ^ 'CORPORATIONS: Gun Fight at the M-G-M Corral', Time Magazine, Monday, Aug. 05, 1957
  5. ^ MGM to Make Huge Schedule of New Films Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Jan 22, 1958; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times (1881-1990) pg. B20
  6. ^ JOSEPH VOGEL, 73, OF M-G-M IS DEAD: PRESIDENT, 1956-63, GUIDED COMPANY IN MONEY CRISIS New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 02 Mar 1969: 80.

External links[edit]