Adolph Zukor was not your typical movie tycoon. In fact, he was unflamboyant, deliberate, mild-mannered, predictable, and almost self-effacing. In the long list of folks who did remarkable things throughout their lives—even in advanced years—Zukor stands out as one who did so for longer than most, regularly going into his office until just a few weeks before his death at the impressive age of 103.
Founding Mogul of Hollywood
Born in 1873 and orphaned by age 7, like thousands of other Europeans, Zukor left his homeland for the New World, and arrived in New York at the age of 16. Zukor overcame a tough time as a youth to first start a fur business in America, open up a penny arcade, and eventually become a pioneer in the motion picture industry in the early 20th century.
As the founder of Paramount Pictures, and the true founding mogul of Hollywood, he "created the model for the integrated film studios that defined early Hollywood and that still form the blueprint for the way the film industry works." Like anyone who does something new and different from the norm, he had his share of naysayers. Zukor, however, stayed true to his vision, and, as a positive example of perseverance and vision, formed a blueprint that still controls over 85 percent of the North American film market. His great contributions to the film industry earned him an Academy Award in 1948.
Zukor was known as a formal man who had strict moral standards and would not tolerate dishonesty or sloth. When much of Hollywood was operating with questionable scruples and less-than-honorable standards, Zukor stuck to being an honorable man from whom people could expect fair treatment and integrity. While running what would turn out to be one of America's most enduring cultural legacies, Zukor remained not only a business and entertainment pioneer, but a genuinely good and reliable person, as well.
In 1976, the former immigrant, fur merchant, arcade investor and movie mogul died at the age of 103. What he left behind was a life of early struggle, then success and inspiration.
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