Adolph Zukor, Hungary, Hollywood
Photo: Wikimedia Commons by Sam Hood

The funny thing about this Hungarian man is that he was not at all interested in movies and movie-making. He simply wanted to earn some money. He was the one who established to world’s first film studio, and without his ideas and visions, Hollywood would have never been born. Despite being extremely wealthy, he did not live a luxurious lifestyle and set everyone back who tried to get in his way.

Adolph Zukor was born in Ricse (Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County) on January 7, 1873, and was raised in a Jewish family. His father and mother died very soon after he was born and moved in together with his uncle. After receiving education in Hungary – which he never finished – he was only fifteen years old when he decided to take his life into his own hands.

Leaving everything behind, he emigrated to the United States of America to start a brand-new life.

Adolph Zukor, Hungary, Hollywood
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As his first job, he swept up the sidewalk in front of a fur store in New York City for $2 a week. He quickly realised if he actually learned how to cut furs, he would earn $4 a week. He was an experienced man in the field of furs and carpets as well when he decided to open his own business in Chicago. By 1925, his own company made enough money for Zukor, and he did not have to worry about his finances anymore.

According to databases and writings, he either encountered movies and filming in 1893 or in 1901. Irrespective of when it actually was, he immediately realised the potential and money in this business.

Adolph Zukor, Hungary, Hollywood
Photo: Wikimedia Commons by Apeda Studio

His cousin Max Goldstein eventually helped him to start the business of the century. He already ran his movie business in the states called Nickelodeon (small theatres where movies were played). He needed money to improve his business, so he asked Zukor to lend him some. Although this project was not successful – because Nickelodeon started to lose its reputation – Zukor did not stop and still had a vision of great success in front of him. In 1912, he established Famous Players Film Company as the American distribution company for the French film production Les Amours de la Reine Élisabeth, starring Sarah Bernhardt the most famous actress of the 1910s. From this moment on, he worked as a director and decided to only make movies for successful actors and actresses. He was the man who discovered and made Mary Pickford famous.

In 1916, his movie company started to co-operate with another one, and uniting them was inevitable. This is how the world-famous Paramount Studios, the world’s first movie studio, directed by a Hungarian man, was born in the same year.

Adolph Zukor, Hungary, Hollywood
Photo: Wikimedia Commons by Famous Players Film Company

Paramount was getting bigger and stronger day by day. Zukor bought several cinemas, produced new movies, and got everyone who tried to stop him out of his way with tricks and practices. He was not interested in movies, he only wanted to be a successful businessman and earn millions of dollars. Despite being the wealthiest man in the States, he lived an ordinary life and did not harsh about how much many and fame he had.

He received an Honorary Academy Award for his work, and ten years later, he retired from Paramount but kept an eye on his studio.

Adolph Zukor, Hungary, Hollywood
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On June 10, 1976, he lied down to have an afternoon nap. He never woke up again. Without his vision and ideas, Hollywood would not be the same as it is today. From a family who had nothing, he emigrated to the States and made his enormous dream come true. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well.

Source: Fidelio, Wikipedia

  1. What a giant of both the movie & business industry. I never knew he had Hungarian roots. I knew only that he was of Jewish heritage by the surname, Zukor.

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