Samuel Goldwyn Jr., the heir to a Hollywood dynasty and a movie executive who made a name for himself in his own right, has died. He was 88.
The producer died Friday of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his son, film and TV producer and former Paramount Pictures chief John Goldwyn, told The New York Times.
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Another of his sons is actor-director Tony Goldwyn, who stars as the U.S. president on ABC’s Scandal.
Samuel Goldwyn Jr.’s Samuel Goldwyn Co., founded in 1979, pioneered the business model for indie productions by exploiting low budgets and guerrilla marketing tactics. He was known for championing promising directors early in their careers, including Ang Lee (1993’s The Wedding Banquet) and Kenneth Branagh (1989’s Henry V).
He received a best picture Oscar nomination for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), which was one of the film’s 10 nominations. His final producing credit came in 2013 with Ben Stiller’s remake of his father’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947).
“Sam is very old school,” Tom Rothman, now president of Sony’s TriStar Pictures and the former chairman of 20th Century Fox, told The New York Times in a 2004 interview. “He doesn’t trade on his father’s name. He comes from an era when producers made genuine aesthetic judgments and not just deals.”
Goldwyn produced two Oscar ceremonies and such films as Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Mystic Pizza (1988), The Preacher’s Wife (1996) and Tortilla Soup (2001), and for his lone directorial effort, he helmed The Young Lovers (1964), starring Peter Fonda.
He was born in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, 1926, the son of Samuel Goldwyn. In 1924, his father’s Goldwyn Pictures was acquired by Metro Pictures Corp., which became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Later, Goldwyn Sr. produced such landmark films as Dodsworth (1936), Wuthering Heights (1939), The Pride of the Yankees (1941), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Guys and Dolls (1955) and his final film, Porgy and Bess (1959).
The annual Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards were created by his father, who started them in 1955 at UCLA to encourage young film, stage and television writers attending University of California schools. And the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named its theater, the site of Thursday’s Oscar nominations announcement, after him.
John Goldwyn this week was tapped to join Discovery Channel. Other survivors include wife Patricia Strawn; two other sons, Francis and Peter; daughters Catherine and Elizabeth; and 10 grandchildren.