Sam Jaffe (producer)

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For the actor Sam Jaffe (1891-1984), see Sam Jaffe (actor).
Sam Jaffe
Born May 21, 1901
Harlem, New York City
Died January 10, 2000(2000-01-10) (aged 98)
Los Angeles
Nationality United States
Ethnicity Jewish
Occupation Movie producer
Spouse(s) Mildred Gersh
Children Naomi Jaffe Carroll
Barbara Jaffe Kohn
Judith Jaffe Silber
Family B.P. Schulberg (brother-in-law)
Adeline Schulberg (sister)
Budd Schulberg (nephew)

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 has 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 Ad Schulberg Agency,[3] a talent agency founded by his older sister, Adeline Jaffe Schulberg in 1933 after her divorce from B.P. Schulberg that represented the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Fredric March, and Herbert Marshall.[3] When his sister opened a branch in London, he assumed control of the agency,[citation needed] re-named the Jaffe Agency.[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 1950s, 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 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.[5] He has three daughters: Naomi Jaffe Carroll, Barbara Jaffe Kohn, and Judith Jaffe Silber.[1] His grandson is Matt Tolmach, co-president of production at Sony Pictures Entertainment.[6]

Partial filmography[edit]


External links[edit]