Sam Zimbalist

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sam Zimbalist
Born(1901-03-31)March 31, 1901
Kiev, Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine)
DiedNovember 4, 1958(1958-11-04) (aged 57)
Rome, Italy
Resting placeHillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California
OccupationFilm producer, film editor
Years active1920–1958
  • Margaret C. Donovan (1924–1950; divorce)
  • Mary Taylor (1952–1958; his death)

Sam Zimbalist (March 31, 1901[1] – November 4, 1958) was a Russian born American film producer and film editor.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born to a Russian Jewish family,[3] he arrived to the USA in August 1914. He began his career at 16 as a film editor at Metro Studios. He remained with Metro when the studio merged with Goldwyn Pictures and with Mayer Pictures in 1924 to become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Among the films he edited at MGM was Lon Chaney's While the City Sleeps (1928).

Film producer[edit]

He was promoted to assistant producer in 1929 and full producer in 1936. He produced the films King Solomon's Mines (1950) and Quo Vadis (1951), both of which received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture. He also was the producer for the 1944 film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, the story of the Doolittle Raiders.


Zimbalist died suddenly of a heart attack In Italy, while working on MGM's most elaborate production until that time, the 1959 epic Ben-Hur. He was buried at the Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California. He received a posthumous Oscar for the film, and remains the only person to ever posthumously receive a Best Picture award.[4] His Oscar was accepted by his wife Mary Zimbalist, who made a speech in honor of her late husband.

Personal life[edit]

He married Margaret C. Donovan in 1924. They divorced in 1950. Zimbalist then married Mary Taylor, a former fashion model and actress, in 1952.[5]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Birth year according naturalisation papers. "".
  2. ^ Obituary Variety, November 12, 1958.
  3. ^ "Whither Quo Vadis?: Sienkiewicz's Novel in Film and Television" By Ruth Scodel and Anja Bettenworth p. 215
  4. ^ Natalie Finn (January 27, 2009). "Rare and Extraordinary" Oscar Noms for Pollack, Minghella". E! Online.
  5. ^ "Paid Death Notices: Mary Taylor Zimbalist". New York Times. June 29, 2008. p. 25. Retrieved November 13, 2008.

External links[edit]