Sam Jaffe (producer)

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Sam Jaffe
BornMay 21, 1901
DiedJanuary 10, 2000(2000-01-10) (aged 98)
NationalityUnited States
OccupationMovie producer
Spouse(s)Mildred Gersh
ChildrenNaomi Jaffe Carroll
Barbara Jaffe Kohn
Judith Jaffe Tolmach Silber
FamilyB.P. Schulberg (brother-in-law)
Adeline Schulberg (sister)
Budd Schulberg (nephew)
Phil Gersh (brother-in-law)
John Kohn (son-in-law)
Matt Tolmach (grandson)

Sam Jaffe (May 21, 1901 – January 10, 2000)[1] was, at different points in his career in the motion picture industry, an agent, a producer and a studio executive.


Jaffe was born in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, to Russian-Jewish immigrants,[2] the son of Hannah and Max Jaffe. He had three older siblings: brothers, Joseph and David, and sister Adeline. He was raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[3]

After dropping out of DeWitt Clinton High School, he took a job as an office boy for the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation where his brother-in-law, B.P. Schulberg, was an executive.[1] He eventually worked his way up through the ranks to become the executive in charge of production[2] including films directed by Ernst Lubitsch, Josef von Sternberg and Rouben Mamoulian.[1] In 1932, he was released from Paramount over internal politics[4] and then worked briefly for Harry Cohn at Columbia Pictures[1] before joining the Schulberg-Feldman agency co-founded by his older sister Adeline Schulberg with Charles K. Feldman.[5] In 1933, his sister left the firm to form the Ad Schulberg agency after her divorce from B.P. Schulberg; the firm represented the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Fredric March, and Herbert Marshall before she sold it and moved to London.[3] In 1935, Jaffe opened his own talent agency named the Jaffe Agency.[6][1] While running the agency, he was able to convince 20th Century Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck to let him produce The Fighting Sullivans in 1944.[1] He successfully represented several stars and directors of the era, including Humphrey Bogart, Fritz Lang, Raoul Walsh, Stanley Kubrick,[1] Lauren Bacall, David Niven, Zero Mostel, Richard Burton, Mary Astor, Barbara Stanwyck, Lee J. Cobb, and Jennifer Jones.[2] In the late 1940s, his business was negatively affected by the investigations of many of his clients by the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations into Hollywood.[1] In 1949, he sold the Jaffe Agency to his brother-in-law, Phil Gersh.[7]

In 1959, he retired and moved to London[2] where he produced several films including Born Free in 1966 and Theater of Blood in 1973.[1] In 1985, he returned to Los Angeles[2] where he became a collector of modern art.

Personal life[edit]

Jaffe was married to Mildred Gersh, sister of Hollywood agent, Phil Gersh, who would later purchase the Jaffe Agency in 1949 which he renamed The Gersh Agency in the 1960s.[7] He had three daughters: Naomi Jaffe Carroll, Barbara Jaffe Kohn, and Judith Jaffe Tolmach Silber.[1] His daughter Barbara was married to producer John Kohn.[8] His grandson is Matt Tolmach, co-president of production at Sony Pictures Entertainment.[9] Another grandson is director Peter Kohn (director).[8]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Sam Jaffe, 98, Hollywood Agent; Represented the Icons of His Day". The New York Times. January 19, 2000. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Sun Sentinel: "Sam Jaffe, Movie Talent Agent, 98" January 15, 2000
  3. ^ a b Jewish Women's Archives: "Adeline Schulberg 1895 – 1977" retrieved September 24, 2015
  4. ^ Baxter, John Von Sternberg P 150 | ISBN 978-0813126012 |University Press of Kentucky | September 2010
  5. ^ McCarthy, Todd. Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood. pp. chapter 23.
  6. ^ Los Angeles Times: "Sam Jaffe; Pioneer Movie Producer, Manager, Agent" by Myrna Olver January 14, 2000
  7. ^ a b New York Times: "Phil Gersh, a Leading Agent In Hollywood, Is Dead at 92" By BERNARD WEINRAUB May 12, 2004
  8. ^ a b Variety: "John Kohn - Oscar-nominated writer-producer and production executive" May 8, 2002
  9. ^ Deadline Hollywood: "Matt Tolmach Discusses Exit As Sony Pics Prez And Segue To Producing 'Spider-Man'" by Mike Fleming Jr October 29, 2010

External links[edit]