Greatest Producers

by IMAlec | created - 10 Jan 2015 | updated - 6 months ago | Public

Greatest and most important film producers of all time

1. David O. Selznick

Producer | Gone with the Wind

David O. Selznick was a son of the silent movie producer Lewis J. Selznick. David studied at Columbia University until his father lost his fortune in the 1920s. David started work as an MGM script reader, shortly followed by becoming an assistant to Harry Rapf. He left MGM to work at Paramount then...

2. Irving Thalberg

Producer | The Tower of Lies

Irving Grant Thalberg was born in New York City, to Henrietta (Haymann) and William Thalberg, who were of German Jewish descent. He had a bad heart, having contracted rheumatic fever as a teenager and was plagued with other ailments all of his life. He was quite intelligent with a thirst for ...

3. Samuel Goldwyn

Producer | The Best Years of Our Lives

Famed for his relentless ambition, bad temper and genius for publicity, Samuel Goldwyn became Hollywood's leading "independent" producer -- largely because none of his partners could tolerate him for long. Born Shmuel (or Schmuel) Gelbfisz, probably in 1879, in the Jewish section of Warsaw, he was ...

4. Jack L. Warner

Producer | My Fair Lady

With his brothers Harry M. Warner, Albert Warner, and Sam Warner, he founded Warner Bros. Pictures Inc. in 1923. They released the first motion picture with synchronized sound, The Jazz Singer (1927) with Al Jolson. In the 1930s they gave employment to a parade of stars, including Bette Davis, ...

5. Cecil B. DeMille

Producer | The Ten Commandments

His parents Henry C. DeMille and Beatrice DeMille were playwrights. His father died when he was 12, and his mother supported the family by opening a school for girls and a theatrical company. Too young to enlist in the Spanish-American War, Cecil followed his brother William C. de Mille to the New ...

6. Carl Laemmle Jr.

Producer | All Quiet on the Western Front

Carl Laemmle Jr. was born on April 28, 1908 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Julius Laemmle. He was a producer and writer, known for All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Frankenstein (1931). He died on September 24, 1979 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.

7. Walt Disney

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Flora Disney (née Call) and Elias Disney, a Canadian-born farmer and businessperson. He had Irish, German, and English ancestry. Walt moved with his parents to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority of ...

8. Darryl F. Zanuck

Producer | The Longest Day

One of the kingpins of Hollywood's studio system, Zanuck was the offspring of the ill-fated marriage of the alcoholic night clerk in Wahoo, Nebraska's only hotel and the hotel owner's daughter. Both parents had abandoned him by the time he was 13. At 15, he joined the U.S. Army, and he fought in ...

9. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

10. Sam Spiegel

Producer | Lawrence of Arabia

Sam Spiegel was born on November 11, 1901 in Jaroslau, Galicia, Austria-Hungary as Samuel P. Spiegel. He is known for his work on Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and On the Waterfront (1954). He was married to Betty Benson, Lynn Baggett and Rachel "Ray" Agranovich. He...

11. Dino De Laurentiis

Producer | La strada

Dino De Laurentiis left home at age 17 to enrol in film school, supporting himself as an actor, extra, propman, or any other job he could get in the film industry. His persistence paid off, and by the time he reached his 20th birthday he already had one produced film under his belt. After serving ...

12. Ernst Lubitsch

Director | To Be or Not to Be

From Ernst Lubitsch's experiences in Sophien Gymnasium (high school) theater, he decided to leave school at the age of 16 and pursue a career on the stage. He had to compromise with his father and keep the account books for the family tailor business while he acted in cabarets and music halls at ...

13. George Stevens

Director | Giant

George Stevens, a filmmaker known as a meticulous craftsman with a brilliant eye for composition and a sensitive touch with actors, is one of the great American filmmakers, ranking with John Ford, William Wyler and Howard Hawks as a creator of classic Hollywood cinema, bringing to the screen ...

14. Frank Capra

Director | It's a Wonderful Life

One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you ...

15. Hal B. Wallis

Producer | True Grit

Legendary producer Hal B. Wallis was born in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles when he was in his early 20s. He got a job managing a theater owned by Warner Bros., and his success at the job caught the eye of studio head Jack L. Warner, who gave him a job in the studio's publicity department. Within...

16. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Schindler's List

One of the most influential personalities in the history of cinema, Steven Spielberg is Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, either as a director, ...

17. Richard D. Zanuck

Producer | Driving Miss Daisy

Richard D. Zanuck was born on December 13, 1934 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Richard Darryl Zanuck. He was a producer, known for Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Deep Impact (1998) and Jaws (1975). He was married to Lili Fini Zanuck, Linda Harrison and Lili Gentle. He died on July 13, 2012 in ...

18. Sam Warner

Director | A Dangerous Adventure

Sam Warner could rightly be called "The Father of Talking Pictures". Of the four Warner brothers, Sam was the most in favor of using synchronized sound with movies. He was the driving force behind the studio's partnership with Western Electric to create Vitaphone. At first, he only wanted to use ...

19. Noël Coward

Writer | In Which We Serve

Noel Coward virtually invented the concept of Englishness for the 20th century. An astounding polymath - dramatist, actor, writer, composer, lyricist, painter, and wit -- he was defined by his Englishness as much as he defined it. He was indeed the first Brit pop star, the first ambassador of "cool...

20. George Lucas

Writer | Star Wars

George Walton Lucas, Jr. was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teen years, he went to Thomas Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional racecar ...

21. Orson Welles

Actor | Citizen Kane

His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr....

22. Sidney Franklin

Director | The Good Earth

Sidney Franklin was involved in amateur filmmaking while still at school. With his brother Chester M. Franklin, he wrote, directed and edited a short film, The Baby (1915), at a cost of $400. Somehow it attracted the interest of D.W. Griffith, who decided to put the brothers to work making ...

23. Albert R. Broccoli

Producer | Dr. No

Albert Romolo Broccoli was born in Astoria, Queens (New York City) on April 5th, 1909. His mother and father, Cristina and Giovanni Broccoli, raised young Albert in New York on the family farm. The family was in the vegetable business, and Albert claimed one of his uncles brought the first broccoli...

24. Stanley Kramer

Producer | Judgment at Nuremberg

Stanley Kramer was born on September 29, 1913 in Hell's Kitchen [now Clinton], Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Stanley Earl Abramson. He was a producer and director, known for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and On the Beach (1959). He was married to ...

25. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...

26. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

27. Warren Beatty

Actor | Reds

Since starring in his first film, Splendor in the Grass (1961), Warren Beatty has been said to have demonstrated a greater longevity in movies than any actor of his generation. Few people have taken so many responsibilities for all phases of the production of films as producer, director, writer, ...

28. Buster Keaton

Actor | The General

Joseph Frank Keaton was born on October 4, 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, to Joe Keaton and Myra Keaton. Joe and Myra were Vaudevillian comedians with a popular, ever-changing variety act, giving Keaton an eclectic and interesting upbringing. In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine ...

29. Ethan Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ethan Coen was born on September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Ethan Jesse Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), A Serious Man (2009) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He has been married to Tricia Cooke since October 2, 1990. They have two ...

30. Joel Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), A Serious Man (2009) and Fargo (1996). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

31. Sydney Pollack

Director | Tootsie

Sydney Pollack was an Academy Award-winning director, producer, actor, writer and public figure, who directed and produced over 40 films.

Sydney Irwin Pollack was born July 1, 1934 in Lafayette, Indiana, USA, to Rebecca (Miller), a homemaker, and David Pollack, a professional boxer turned pharmacist...

32. Robert Redford

Actor | The Natural

Charles Robert Redford, Jr. was born on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California, to Martha (Hart), from Texas, and Charles Robert Redford, an accountant for Standard Oil, who was originally from Connecticut. He is of English, Scottish, Cornish, and Irish ancestry. Robert's mother died in 1955,...



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