You may have never heard the name of Adolph Zukor, but you must be familiar with the Paramount Pictures film company he founded, although it is not the only famous film company that is connected to his name. It can be stated without exaggeration that Hollywood would not exist now in its current form without the impactful contribution of Zukor.
The early years of Adolph Zukor
Zukor was born in Ricse, a Hungarian settlement with a population of less than 2,000. He came from a rural Jewish family. Zukor attended school in Mátészalka, and then became a butler in a general store in Abaújszántó.
In 1888, Zukor emigrated to the United States at the age of 15 after becoming an orphan.
He saw his first movie when he was 20 years old. At this early age, he already recognised the profitable business opportunity in cinema. He first joined a booth screening three-minute movies, and then he began networking. Eventually, he made some valuable connections including Marcus Loew, an American business magnate and pioneer of the motion picture industry.
In 1912, he made a huge profit by distributing a film by Sarah Bernhardt, the most celebrated French stage actress of the era.
Zukor set up his own company by investing money wisely, writes port.hu. He shot film adaptations of popular novels and plays. Zukor also collaborated with director Edwin S. Porter and actress Mary Pickford, one of the first film stars in the history of cinema.
The cornerstones of Hollywood
In 1914, Zukor was already responsible for making 30 films a year. In addition, he opened a 3,500-person cinema palace called Standard on Broadway.
Zukor leased the building of a former orange farm in suburban Los Angeles, Hollywood, where he set up his first studio.
He soon gained great recognition and worked with such legendary figures as Douglas Fairbanks, John Barrymore, Pola Negri, Rudolph Valentino or Gary Cooper. In 1916, Zukor’s company merged with that of Jesse L. Lasky, an influential motion picture producer. Their joined venture succeeded to overthrow their main rivals.
In 1916, the history of Paramount Pictures began.
Paramount and Zukor ruled the film industry until 1932. However, this year marks a long pause which was followed by a halt. In the late 1940s, with the help of the ABC TV company’s alliance, Zukor and Paramount made it back to the top of Hollywood.
In 1949, Zukor received an Oscar for his oeuvre.
Zukor’s work is highly regarded in the industry and he is among the few Hungarians who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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Source: Wikipedia.hu, port.hu
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