Samuel Goldwyn was an American film producer, and founding contributor executive of several motion picture studios.
Goldwyn was born Schmuel Gelbfisz in Warsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire to a Hasidic, Polish Jewish family. At an early age he left Warsaw on foot and penniless. He made his way to Birmingham, England, where he remained with relatives for a few years using the name Samuel Goldfish. In 1898, he emigrated to the United States, but fearing refusal of entry, he got off the boat in Nova Scotia, Canada, before moving on to New York in January 1899. He found work in upstate Gloversville, New York, in the bustling garment business. Soon his innate marketing skills made him a very successful salesman. After four years, as vice-president for sales, he moved back to New York City.
In 1913, Goldfish along with his brother-in-law Jesse L. Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, and Arthur Friend formed a partnership, The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, to produce feature length motion pictures. Film rights for the stage play The Squaw Man were purchased for $4000 and Dustin Farnum was hired for the leading role. Shooting for the first feature film made in Hollywood began on December 29, 1913.
In 1914, Paramount was a film exchange and exhibition corporation headed by W. W. Hodkinson. Looking for more movies to distribute, Paramount signed a contract with the Lasky Company on June 1, 1914 to supply 36 films per year. One of Paramount’s other suppliers was Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players Company. The two companies merged on June 28, 1916 forming The Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. Zukor had been quietly buying Paramount stock and two weeks prior to the merger became president of Paramount Pictures Corporation and had Hodkinson replaced with Hiram Abrams, a Zukor associate.