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William Goetz

william goetz, william goetz hollywood limousine
William B "Bill" Goetz March 24, 1903 – August 15, 1969 was an American film producer and studio executive Goetz was one of the founders of Twentieth Century Pictures, later renamed 20th Century Fox He served as Fox's vice president and later became the head of production at Universal-International


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Personal life
    • 31 Marriage and children
    • 32 Politics
    • 33 Hobbies
    • 34 Death
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Early lifeedit

Born to a Jewish working-class family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Goetz was the youngest of eight children1 His mother died when he was ten years old and shortly thereafter his father abandoned the family Raised by older brothers, at the age of twenty-one he followed some of his brothers to Hollywood where he found work as a crew hand at one of the large studios After a few years, he began doing production work and in 1930 was made an associate producer at Fox Films


In 1932, Goetz received the financial support necessary from his new father-in-law, Louis B Mayer, to become a minor partner with Joseph Schenck, the former president of United Artists, and Darryl F Zanuck from Warner Bros to create Twentieth Century Pictures2 Zanuck was named president and Goetz served as vice-president3 Successful from the very beginning, their 1934 film The House of Rothschild was nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture In 1935, Twentieth Century bought out the financially strapped Fox Films to create 20th Century Fox

Goetz served as vice president of the new 20th Century Fox, but in 1942 he took charge of the studio temporarily when Zanuck, a World War I veteran, joined the United States military effort in the Second World War Goetz liked the top role in the company and after Zanuck returned, relationships became strained

In 1943 Goetz resigned to form his own independent company with Leo Spitz,4 a former lawyer who worked as a movie company advisor Their partnership, International Pictures, ended its short-lived existence when they made a deal in July 1946 to merge with the British Rank Organization's distribution arm and Universal Pictures Goetz was made president and placed in charge of production for the newly merged Universal-International studio3

Although one of the studio executives who formulated the 1947 Waldorf Statement, Goetz later softened his stand on the issue In 1949, Goetz called upon his close friendship with MCA head Lew Wasserman, one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood They revolutionized the motion picture industry when they agreed to a deal whereby James Stewart was signed to a profit participation deal to act in a Universal film In lieu of a salary for his performance, Stewart was guaranteed half of the film's profits, and the concept was soon negotiated for other stars who recognized the value of their own box office drawing power Universal-International was acquired by Decca Records in late 1951, and Goetz was replaced by Edward Muhl in 1953 After leaving Universal, Goetz became an independent producer, making films such as 1957's Sayonara, which was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture

Personal lifeedit

Marriage and childrenedit

In March 1930, Goetz married Edith Mayer 1905–1988, daughter of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio head Louis B Mayer – who at first was less than enthusiastic at the idea5 The couple had two daughters, Judith and Barbara6 Goetz and Mayer remained married until his death in 19697

Goetz's sister-in-law was theatrical producer Irene Mayer Selznick Goetz's brother-in-law was film producer David O Selznick to whom Irene was married from April 1930 to 194989


Goetz was a liberal Democrat and enthusiastically campaigned for Adlai Stevenson II in 1952 presidential election Goetz angered his Republican Party father-in-law Louis B Mayer when he announced plans to host a party for Stevenson at the Beverly Hills Hotel Mayer was further angered when he learned that the party was to be co-hosted by film executive Dore Schary, the man with whom Mayer had worked with and often fought with at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and who replaced Mayer as the head of M-G-M in 1956 Although Mayer adored his daughter Edith, he had a difficult relationship with Goetz This episode further strained their relationship and Mayer never spoke to his son-in-law again1011


In 1949, a controversy erupted over the Vincent van Gogh self-portrait called Study by Candlelight

A very wealthy man, Goetz raised thoroughbred racehorses His horse Your Host won the 1950 Santa Anita Derby and subsequently sired Kelso, a Hall of Fame inductee and one of the greatest horses in racing history

Goetz and his wife also were major investors in art, acquiring a significant collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works They owned paintings and sculptures by great artists such as Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, Pierre Bonnard, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and Henri Fantin-Latour In 1949, a controversy erupted over a Vincent van Gogh self-portrait called "Study by Candlelight" that Goetz had purchased two years earlier The painting was declared a fake by art expert Willem Sandberg and the artist's nephew, V W van Gogh, resulting in an international debate amongst art experts The painting remained controversial and was not put up for auction with the rest of the Goetz collection following Edith Goetz's death in 1987 The painting was exhibited April 13–25, 2013, in the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno1213


On August 15, 1969, Goetz died of cancer at his Holmby Hills, Los Angeles home at the age of 667 He was buried in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California1415


  1. ^ Frodon, Jean-Michel ed Cinema & The Shoah: An Art Confronts the Tragedy of the Twentieth Century SUNY Press p 150 ISBN 1-438-43028-0 
  2. ^ Soloman, Aubrey 2011 The Fox Film Corporation, 1915–1935: A History and Filmography McFarland p 139 ISBN 0-786-48610-4 
  3. ^ a b Finler, Joel Waldo 2003 The Hollywood Story Wallflower Press p 54 ISBN 1-903-36466-3 
  4. ^ Jewell, Richard B RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born Berkeley: University of California Press p 292 ISBN 9780520271784 
  5. ^ Eyman, Scott 2008 Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B Mayer Simon and Schuster p 162 ISBN 1-439-10791-2 
  6. ^ "Edith M Goetz; Wife of Late Film Producer" latimescom June 4, 1988 
  7. ^ a b "William Goetz, Film Producer, Succumbs at 66" Reading Eagle August 16, 1969 p 13 
  8. ^ Donnelley, Paul 2003 Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries Music Sales Group p 629 ISBN 0-711-99512-5 
  9. ^ Pace, Eric October 11, 1990 "Irene Mayer Selznick Dies at 83; Producer of Broadway 'Streetcar'" nytimescom 
  10. ^ Gabler, Neal 2010 An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood Random House LLC p 415 ISBN 0-307-77371-X 
  11. ^ Manners, Dorothy August 7, 1968 "Political Family Feuds Not What They Used To Be" The News and Courier p 4-A 
  12. ^ "Stephan Koldehoff: Streit um Van Gogh Studie bei Kerzenlicht" Retrieved 2013-04-08  faznet,german
  13. ^ Nevada Museum of Art Retrieved 2013-04-08
  14. ^ "William Goetz, Figure in Film Industry for 40 Years, Dies: Producer, 66, Had Been Associated With Nearly 100 Movies During Career" Sutherland, Henry Los Angeles Times 1923–Current File Los Angeles, Calif August 16, 1969: a1
  15. ^ William Goetz at Find a Grave

External linksedit

  • William Goetz on Internet Movie Database

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