Sol M. Wurtzel
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|Sol M. Wurtzel|
Sol M. Wurtzel in 1933
|Born||Solomon Max Wurtzel
September 12, 1890
New York City, New York, US
|Died||April 9, 1958
Los Angeles, California, US
|Occupation||Motion picture producer|
Sol Wurtzel (born Solomon Max Wurtzel, September 12, 1890 – April 9, 1958) was an American film producer.
Life and career
Born in New York City; his parents were both German Jews (Surname Wurtzel is a variant spelling of German and Yiddish wurzel, root in English). Wurtzel worked as an executive assistant to William Fox, founding owner of the Fox Film Corporation. In 1911, Wurtzel hired Alan E. Freedman as a bookkeeper for Fox's fledgling film processing laboratory. Freedman would remain for over 50 years, eventually turning the operation into the gargantuan "Color by DeLuxe" DeLuxe Laboratories. In 1917, Fox sent Wurtzel to California to oversee the studio's West Coast productions. He developed a formula for creating consistently profitable B movies that are heralded today. (source-Early Fox Film Corporation-letters)
Wurtzel eventually became involved in production and between 1932 and 1949 he produced more than 159 films including a large number of both the Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto series as well as other successes such as Bright Eyes in 1934, starring Shirley Temple and featuring her enduring trademark song: "On The Good Ship Lollipop".
Wurtzel cast dancer Rita Hayworth (then Rita Cansino) in her first film role, the 1935 production Dante's Inferno. He gave an unknown Marilyn Monroe her first walk-on in his 1947 production of Dangerous Years.
He produced several of Laurel and Hardy's later comedies in the 1940s, including Great Guns (1941), A-Haunting We Will Go (1942), Jitterbugs (1943) and The Big Noise (1944). In 1943, he produced Chetniks! The Fighting Guerrillas on the guerrilla resistance movement in Serbia.
Ill for many years following a stroke in 1952, Wurtzel died at his home in Hollywood April 9, 1958. John Ford delivered the eulogy at his funeral. Wurtzel was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Much of Wurtzel's family continued to work at Fox Studios until the late 1980s.
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