Joe Pasternak


Producer

About

Also Known As
Joseph Pasternak, Josef A. Pasternack
Birth Place
Hungary
Born
September 19, 1901
Died
September 13, 1991
Cause of Death
Parkinson's Disease

Biography

Hungarian immigrant who came to America in his teens and worked his way up through the ranks to become an assistant director at Paramount in 1923. After producing several successful films in Europe, Pasternak revived the flagging fortunes of Universal with a series of hit musicals starring Deanna Durbin in the mid-1930s. He is also credited with discovering Judy Garland, who later starre...

Photos & Videos

Meet Me in Las Vegas - Costume Sketches
Mad About Music - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Anchors Aweigh - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Family & Companions

Margaret Flander
Wife
Secretary. Divorced; was his German secretary.
Dorothy Darrel
Wife
Former actor. Married 1941.

Bibliography

"Easy the Hard Way"
Joe Pasternak (1956)

Notes

Pasternak once said that his boyhood dream was "to have my own bathroom." --quoted in his obituary in The New York Times, September 18, 1991.

Biography

Hungarian immigrant who came to America in his teens and worked his way up through the ranks to become an assistant director at Paramount in 1923. After producing several successful films in Europe, Pasternak revived the flagging fortunes of Universal with a series of hit musicals starring Deanna Durbin in the mid-1930s. He is also credited with discovering Judy Garland, who later starred in his musicals "Presenting Lily Mars" (1943), "In the Good Old Summertime" (1949) and "Summer Stock" (1950). Pasternak also cast Mario Lanza in "The Toast of New Orleans" (1950) and "The Great Caruso" (1951), and rejuvenated the career of Marlene Dietrich with "Destry Rides Again" (1939).

In 1945 Pasternak fought MGM for permission to film the now classic live-action/animated sequence in "Anchors Aweigh," in which Gene Kelly dances with the cartoon mouse, Jerry (at a cost of $150,000).

Over a 40-year career, Pasternak was responsible for 105 films, mostly family-oriented, frothy fare which earned a total of some $400 million. He headed one of MGM's three musical "units" in the 1940s and, in 1960, produced the influential adolescent-romance-on-the-beach film, "Where the Boys Are."

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
Film producer

Producer (Feature Film)

The Sweet Ride (1968)
Producer
Spinout (1966)
Producer
Made in Paris (1966)
Producer
Penelope (1966)
Executive Producer
Girl Happy (1965)
Producer
Looking for Love (1964)
Producer
A Ticklish Affair (1963)
Producer
The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963)
Producer
The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962)
Producer
Jumbo (1962)
Producer
Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960)
Producer
Where the Boys Are (1960)
Producer
Ask Any Girl (1959)
Producer
Party Girl (1958)
Producer
Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957)
Producer
This Could Be the Night (1957)
Producer
The Opposite Sex (1956)
Producer
Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956)
Producer
Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
Producer
Hit the Deck (1955)
Producer
The Student Prince (1954)
Producer
Flame and the Flesh (1954)
Producer
Athena (1954)
Producer
Small Town Girl (1953)
Producer
Easy to Love (1953)
Producer
Because You're Mine (1952)
Producer
Skirts Ahoy! (1952)
Producer
Latin Lovers (1952)
Producer
The Merry Widow (1952)
Producer
The Strip (1951)
Producer
The Great Caruso (1951)
Producer
Rich, Young and Pretty (1951)
Producer
The Toast of New Orleans (1950)
Producer
Nancy Goes to Rio (1950)
Producer
Summer Stock (1950)
Producer
Duchess of Idaho (1950)
Producer
In the Good Old Summertime (1949)
Producer
The Kissing Bandit (1949)
Producer
That Midnight Kiss (1949)
Producer
Three Daring Daughters (1948)
Producer
Big City (1948)
Producer
On an Island with You (1948)
Producer
Luxury Liner (1948)
Producer
A Date with Judy (1948)
Producer
The Unfinished Dance (1947)
Producer
This Time for Keeps (1947)
Producer
No Leave, No Love (1946)
Producer
Two Sisters from Boston (1946)
Producer
Holiday in Mexico (1946)
Producer
Music for Millions (1945)
Producer
Anchors Aweigh (1945)
Producer
Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945)
Producer
Thrill of a Romance (1945)
Producer
Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)
Producer
Thousands Cheer (1944)
Producer
Song of Russia (1944)
Producer
Presenting Lily Mars (1943)
Producer
Seven Sweethearts (1942)
Producer
The Flame of New Orleans (1941)
Producer
It Started with Eve (1941)
Producer
Spring Parade (1940)
Producer
It's a Date (1940)
Producer
Destry Rides Again (1939)
Producer
First Love (1939)
Producer
Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)
Producer
Mad About Music (1938)
Producer
Youth Takes a Fling (1938)
Producer
One Hundred Men and a Girl (1937)
Associate Producer
Three Smart Girls (1936)
Associate Producer

Music (Feature Film)

The King Steps Out (1936)
Vocal seq Conductor by

Production Companies (Feature Film)

Jumbo (1962)
Company
Nice Girl? (1941)
Company
Seven Sinners (1940)
Company
A Little Bit of Heaven (1940)
Company
It's a Date (1940)
Company
Destry Rides Again (1939)
Company
The Underpup (1939)
Company
That Certain Age (1938)
Company

Cast (Special)

Mario Lanza: The American Caruso (1983)

Life Events

1921

Emigrated to USA; first worked in a factory, punching holes in leather belts

1923

Became a second assistant director at Paramount

1926

Joined Universal in Hollywood; wrote and directed first two-reel comedy with El Brendel, "Help Yourself" which helped him advance to asssistant director

1928

Appointed manager of Universal's operations in Berlin and as an associate producer (under European production supervisor Paul Kohner) earned $1,500 per week

1929

First film, "Das Schweigen im Walde" (made in Germany)

1933

Fled Germany (later family members died in concentration camps)

1936

Called back to the USA in the mid-1930s when Universal faced bankruptcy

1937

Helped save the studio with his first US production, the Deana Durbin hit musical, "Three Smart Girls"

1941

Moved to MGM where he stayed for the remainer of his career

1964

Produced three Oscar telecasts

1968

Produced last film, "The Sweet Ride"

Photo Collections

Meet Me in Las Vegas - Costume Sketches
Here are a few original costume design sketches by Helen Rose for MGM's Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956), starring Cyd Charisse. Note the approvals by producer Joe Pasternak and director Roy Rowland.
Mad About Music - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Universal's Mad About Music (1938), starring Deanna Durbin and Herbert Marshall.
Anchors Aweigh - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a number of photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Anchors Aweigh (1945). Look for stars Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Kathryn Grayson, director George Sidney, and even MGM cartoon stars Tom & Jerry!

Videos

Movie Clip

Destry Rides Again (1939) — (Movie Clip) Trouble Is My Business Now properly on the job and armed, the deputy sheriff and title character Tom (James Stewart) follows up on his initial brawling encounter with the singer-hustler-celebrity of Bottleneck, Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich, Lillian Yarbo her servant) in director George Marshall’s Destry Rides Again, 1939.
On An Island With You (1948) — (Movie Clip) Nightingale (Dance) Smitten Navy movie technical adviser Kingsley (Peter Lawford) gets turned down by the star Roz (Esther Williams, backed by her director, Dick Simmons), slipping into a dance number for her fiancè and co-star (Ricardo Montalban) and the second lead (Cyd Charisse), Xaiver Cugat’s group backing with his own composition, in MGM’s On An Island With You, 1948.
Horizontal Lieutenant, The (1962) - I Thought You Were A Girl Before the credits Jim Hutton as Lt. Wye narrated his situation, stationed in quiet Hawaii in the later years of WWII, then a bench-warmer beaned by a foul ball on the squad baseball team, awakens to find himself attended by a gal from college (Paula Prentiss), who seems far sexier now, in The Horizontal Lieutenant, 1962, the fourth and final Hutton-Prentiss picture from MGM.
Horizontal Lieutenant, The (1962) - Don't Get Any Ideas Lt. Merle Wye (Jim Hutton), now in his housecoat, has just barely prevailed on his ex-college acquaintance now popular Army nurse Molly (Paula Prentiss) for a friendly date before he’s posted to a remote Pacific island, until she finds out he’s not being all that brave, in MGM’s The Horizontal Lieutenant, 1962.
Duchess Of Idaho (1950) - Baby, Come Out Of The Clouds Second leads John Lund (as "Doug") and Paula Raymond (his secretary "Ellen") in the audience as Lena Horne is introduced, performing Baby, Come Out Of The Clouds by Henry Nemo and Lee Pearl, in MGM's Duchess Of Idaho, 1950.
Athena (1954) - Harmonize Perturbed lawyer Adam (Edmund Purdom) at the home of mystically inclined fitness nuts, Louis Calhern as Grandpa, Jane Powell the title character, Debbie Reynolds and Vic Damone in chorus, and Steve Reeves the disdainful body-builder, another Martin & Blane song, in MGM’s Athena, 1954.
Please Don't Eat The Daisies (1960) - Awful Quiet... Establishing the trials of family life in the city, plus mother Kate (Doris Day) in black negligee, with sons (Charles Herbert, Flip Mark, Baby Gellert, Stanley Livingston), the opening of Please Don't Eat The Daisies, 1960, co-starring David Niven, from the Jean Kerr book.
Party Girl (1958) - Would You Like To Take Me Home? Paid with girlfriends from the night club to attend a party thrown by Chicago gang boss Rico (Lee J. Cobb), who’s distraught over the marriage of movie star Jean Harlow, savvy dancer Vicki (Cyd Charisse) meets thug Louis (John Ireland) and lawyer Farrell (Robert Taylor, his first scene), in director Nicholas Ray’s crime-musical hybrid Party Girl, 1958.
Party Girl (1958) - Happy New Year Gangster Canetto (John Ireland) is transfixed by Vicki (Cyd Charisse) and her New Year's night club dance and can't resist a visit backstage, in Nicholas Ray's Party Girl, 1958.
Anchors Aweigh (1945) - Jealousy! Kathryn Grayson as Susan, widowed de-facto mother of her nephew, who hasn’t sung a note thus far, is eager to thank her new on-leave Navy pals Joe and Clarence (Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra), at an L-A Mexican club, the famous song by the Danish composer Jacob Gade, English lyric by Patience Strong, in Anchors Aweigh, 1945.
Anchors Aweigh (1945) - I Always Get Sung To Sleep! On shore-leave in L-A sailors Joe and Clarence (Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra) have agreed to put their new pal Donald (Dean Stockwell) to bed, Frank supplying Brahms’ Lullaby, then hoping to apply Gene’s promised romantic advice to his guardian-aunt Susan (Kathryn Grayson), in MGM’s Anchors Aweigh, 1945.
Anchors Aweigh (1945) - I Begged Her Returning to sailors' lodgings after their first night on leave, Doolittle (Frank Sinatra) forgetting to brag, Brady (Gene Kelly) correcting, into their Sammy Cahn-Jule Styne number, staged by Kelly and Jack Donohue, in Anchors Aweigh, 1945.

Trailer

Latin Lovers - (Original Trailer) Expect Ricardo Montalban to give Lana Turner a taste for Latin Lovers (1953) in this Technicolor romance.
Love Me or Leave Me -- (Original Trailer) Doris Day stars in the true story of torch singer Ruth Etting and her attempts to escape the gangster (James Cagney) who made her a star in Love Me or Leave Me (1955), directed by Charles Vidor.
Because You're Mine - (Original Trailer) After being drafted, an opera star (Mario Lanza) falls for his sergeant's sister in Because You're Mine (1952).
Athena - (Original Trailer) A society lawyer falls in love with the daughter (Jane Powell) of a family of fitness fanatics in Athena (1954).
Duchess of Idaho - (Original Trailer) During a Sun Valley vacation, a woman tries to solve her roommate's romantic problems in Duchess of Idaho (1950), starring Esther Williams.
Girl Happy - (Original Trailer) A rock singer is hired to chaperone a gangster's daughter in Fort Lauderdale in Girl Happy (1965) starring Elvis Presley and Shelley Fabares.
Anchors Aweigh - (Original Trailer) A pair of sailors on leave try to help a movie extra become a singing star in Anchors Aweigh (1945) starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson.
Presenting Lily Mars - (Original Trailer) A small-town girl fights for her chance on Broadway in Presenting Lily Mars (1943) starring Judy Garland.
Merry Widow, The (1952) - (Original Trailer) A prince (Fernando Lamas) from a small kingdom courts a wealthy widow (Lana Turner) to keep her money in the country in The Merry Widow (1952).
Toast Of New Orleans, The - (Original Trailer) Mario Lanza is a Louisiana shrimp hauler who becomes an opera star in the MGM Technicolor musical The Toast Of New Orleans (1950).
Skirts Ahoy! - (Original Trailer) Three women join the Navy to find husbands in the MGM Technicolor musical Skirts Ahoy! (1952) starring Esther Williams.
Student Prince, The (1954) - (Original Trailer) A prince falls in love with a barmaid during his last fling before assuming the crown in the operetta The Student Prince (1954).

Family

Lanca Kardos
Sister
Michael Pasternak
Son
Disk jockey.
Peter Pasternak
Son
Works in music business.
Jeffrey Pasternak
Son

Companions

Margaret Flander
Wife
Secretary. Divorced; was his German secretary.
Dorothy Darrel
Wife
Former actor. Married 1941.

Bibliography

"Easy the Hard Way"
Joe Pasternak (1956)

Notes

Pasternak once said that his boyhood dream was "to have my own bathroom." --quoted in his obituary in The New York Times, September 18, 1991.