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Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (natural causes)

Mini Bio (1)

Studio executive and independent film producer Max E. Youngstein has never received the full recognition he deserves. In 1951, he played a major role in rescuing United Artists (UA) from ruin. He was one of five partners, along with Arthur Krim, Robert Benjamin, Arnold Picker, and Bill Heineman, who purchased the financially troubled production and distribution company from the surviving co-founders Charles Chaplin and Mary Pickford. "For the next 12 years," writes Sandra Brennan, "the charismatic Youngstein, who of the five had the greatest rapport with and understanding of Hollywood's entertainment industry, would supervise productions." Foreseeing a successful market for motion picture soundtracks, he founded United Artists Records and United Artists Music.

During these years, UA would guarantee part of the production capital, worldwide distribution, and split the gross box office revenue. This arrangement was unheard of at the major studios. UA became the launch pad for landmark independent companies like Stanley Kramer Productions, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, The Mirisch Company, and Joseph E. Levine. With Youngstein's assistance, UA once again became a leading name in the motion picture industry, developing the James Bond and Pink Panther franchises, and winning Best Picture Academy Awards for 'Marty' (1955), 'Around the World in 80 Days' (1956), 'The Apartment' (1960), and 'West Side Story' (1961).

The five partners at UA agreed, like their role model Irving Thalberg, not to take screen credit. Later Youngstein said this was "noble but ultimately silly, since everything is based on your last picture in this town." During his years at UA he oversaw the production of such classics as 'The African Queen' (1951), 'High Noon' (1952), 'The Night of the Hunter' (1955) 'Summertime' (1955), 'Sweet Smell of Success' (1957), '12 Angry Men' (1957), 'The Defiant Ones' (1958), 'Witness for the Prosecution' (1958), 'The Vikings' (1959), 'Some Like It Hot' (1959), 'Elmer Gantry' (1960), 'Inherit the Wind' (1960), 'The Alamo' (1960), 'The Magnificent Seven' (1960), 'Judgment at Nuremberg' (1961), 'The Misfits' (1961), 'Dr. No' (1962), and 'The Great Escape' (1963).

Youngstein left UA to found Max E. Youngstein Enterprises Inc. Films to emerge from his company include 'Fail Safe' (1964), directed by Sidney Lumet, and 'Welcome to Hard Times' (1967). He became the vice president of the Todd-AO-Corp. in 1972, and then for the next two decades was a legendary consultant to independent producers. He said his proudest moment was personally presenting a million dollar donation to Albert Einstein for the Institute of Advanced Study. Hoping to create a new launching pad for independent films, Youngstein and partner Cheryl Christiansen founded the Worldwide Artists production company. Youngstein passed away in his home the following year at the age of 84. He left behind an uncompleted autobiography.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ron Newcomer

Trivia (2)

He tells the story of a young, ambitious writer working for him at United Artists in the ad department. The man constantly complained he was wasting his talents in Hollywood. He really wanted to write novels but could not afford to take the time off. One day, after listening to these complaints, Youngstein devised a plan. He began to withhold extra money from the employee's paycheck. A year later he called man into his office and fired him. He then handed the surprised man a checkbook for a savings account in Mexico and a key to a small bungalow overlooking the ocean. Youngstein told the man to go away and write his novel. The writer's name was Richard Condon, and the dedication in his second novel, 'The Manchurian Candidate,' reads: To Max Youngstein, and not only for reasons of affection and admiration, this book is warmly dedicated.
Max Youngstein was the friend and lover of my aunt Mattie Comfort for over two decades. Mattie was formerly married to Joe Comfort who played bass for Nat King Cole. She was in Cabin in the Sky, Anchors Aweigh and Aladdin's Lamp but Max got her the lounge singer role in Kiss Me Deadly. He met her when she when she worked as a Cigarette Girl on Sunset Blvd. She also was friends with Otto Preminger, Duke Ellington and Darryl Zanuck. Max did not like Otto's explosive manner and told Mattie he had instructions at the studio to report any of Otto's behavior.. Max was a very admired and well loved man. A liberal, he defied the HUAC by hiring black writers to use their names on scripts by blacklisted writers. One writer to do this was named John Killens.

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