Samuel Goldwyn Jr. Dead at 88

Late Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. with son Tony.

Samuel Goldwyn Jr., producer and son to Hollywood mogul and fellow producer of several highly acclaimed movies, was best known for making independent films, including hits like Mystic Pizza and Master and Commander. Sam passed away at at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday; he died at the age of 88. A family member told the New York Times that his death was due to congestive heart failure.

What Was Samuel Goldwyn Jr.’s Last Movie Produced?

Samuel’s final credit as a producer was received for his work on Fox’s 2013 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which starred Ben Stiller, who also directed the movie. Samuel’s son, John Goldwyn, co-produced the movie, which is a remake first produced by Samuel Goldwyn Sr. in 1947.

Unlike his bold and outspoken father who, in a rags to riches story, made his way to the United States from a poverty torn Poland to become partner at MGM, Samuel had a more subtle start in show business as a documentary and independent filmmaker.

“I love it. If you don’t love this business, don’t go near it. Don’t go near it to get rich,” Samuel said in an interview with Britain’s The Independent in 2004. “And just remember, if you’re right 51 per cent of the time in this business, you’re a genius.”

Samuel Goldwyn Jr.’s Movies

Samuel Goldwyn Company was recognized in the 80s and 90s as one of the largest producers of indie films, which included Wild at Heart, a Palme d’Or winner directed by David Lynch; Stranger Than Paradise, by Jim Jarmusch; Gregory’s Girl, by Bill Forsyth; Sid and Nancy, by Alex Cox; Prick Up Your Ears, by Stephen Frears; Hollywood Shuffle, by Robert Townsend; To Sleep With Anger, by Charles Burnett; City of Hope, by John Sayles; The Wedding Banquet, by Ang Lee; and Much Ado About Nothing, by Kenneth Branagh.

As a self-confessed “Hollywood brat” who grew up in Los Angeles, raised by his father and mother, actress Frances Howard, Samuel has been “in the business” his entire life. He attended a Colorado prep school and the University of Virginia before joining the Army. After serving his country, the soon-to-be producer went across the pond to England and took a job working for J. Arthur Rank, where he achieved his first associate producer credit for Good-Time Girl, a 1948 British crime thriller directed by Diana Dors. In 1950, he rejoined the military and began making documentaries for General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s staff.

Samuel made his way back to Hollywood during the 1950s and shortly thereafter he created his first production company call Formosa Prods., which produced The Sharkfighters, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Cotton Comes to Harlem, and Come Back, Charleston Blue.

Samuel Goldwyn’s Family

Samuel was married to three different women – Peggy Elliott, Jennifer Howard, and Patricia Strawn. He had two children with Peggy and another four with Jennifer. He is survived by Patricia and his six children – John, Tony, Francis, Peter, Catherine, and Elizabeth, plus nine grandchildren. John is a producer, Tony is an actor and starred in Ghost, and Peter is senior vice president of Samuel Goldwyn Films.

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