Saul Zaentz

Producer
Saul Zaentz carved a niche in film with accomplished, often critically acclaimed adaptations of novels and plays. A child of immigrant parents, the New Jersey native had originally planned to open a chicken farm after ... Read more »
Born: 02/28/1921 in Passaic, New Jersey, USA

Filmography

Producer (8)

Goya's Ghosts 2007 (Movie)

(Producer)

The English Patient 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

At Play in the Fields of the Lord 1991 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being 1988 (Movie)

(Producer)

Amadeus 1984 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Lord of the Rings 1978 (Movie)

(Producer)

Three Warriors 1976 (Movie)

(Producer)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1975 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (4)

Fog City Mavericks 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Saul Zaentz 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The 69th Annual Academy Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Milos Forman: Portrait 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Saul Zaentz carved a niche in film with accomplished, often critically acclaimed adaptations of novels and plays. A child of immigrant parents, the New Jersey native had originally planned to open a chicken farm after his service in WWII, until he spent six weeks actually working on one. Instead, he migrated first to St Louis, where he took business courses, and eventually landed in San Francisco, where he secured work in the music industry. After moving up from distribution through packaging concert tours, Zaentz went to work at the San Francisco-based Fantasy Records. Originally specializing in jazz and cabaret comics like Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl, Fantasy grew in the 1960s thanks in large part to a series of hit singles by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Despite persistent bad blood between himself and many of the artists who recorded for Fantasy Records, most notably Creedence leader John Fogerty, about the label's business practices, Zaentz then moved into an extremely successful career as a film producer that netted three Best Picture Oscars in three decades, plus an Irving G. Thalberg Award, before his death in 2014.

Relationships

Parent
were Russian-Polish immigrants

Sibling
had five, all older

EDUCATION

Rutgers University

New Brunswick , New Jersey

took business courses in St Louis, Missouri in the 1940s

Milestones

1999

As co-producer, reteamed with Minghella for "The Talented Mr. Ripley"

1996

Had a critical and box-office success with Anthony Minghella's film version of "The English Patient", adapted from Michael Ondaatje's novel

1988

Had major financial failure with "At Play in the Fields of the Lord"

1984

Reteamed with Forman for the film adaptation of Peter Shaffer's play "Amadeus"

1977

First film for own production outfit, The Saul Zaentz Company, "Three Warriors"

1975

First feature as co-producer, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", directed by Milos Forman

1967

Purchased Fantasy Records with a group of investors

1955

Joined Fantasy Records as manager

Moved to St Louis, Missouri after the war; eventually headed farther west to San Francisco

Worked for a record distributor

Moved back to NYC to work with Norman Granz on his jazz label; also booked concert packages

Served in the US Army during WWII

Raised in Passaic, New Jersey

Announced as one of the executive producers (along with Harvey and Bob Weinstein) of Peter Jackson's trilogy of films based on JRR Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings", filmed back-to-back in 2000; "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), "The Two Towers" (2002)

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