Darryl F. Zanuck


Executive, Producer
Darryl F. Zanuck

About

Also Known As
Darryl Francis Zanuck, Melville Crossman, Darryl Zanuck, Gregory Rogers, Mark Canfield
Birth Place
Wahoo, Nebraska, USA
Born
September 05, 1902
Died
December 22, 1979
Cause of Death
Pneumonia

Biography

One of the most prolific and accomplished moguls of Hollywood's Golden Age, Darryl F. Zanuck was the co-founder and primary force behind 20th Century Fox, and helped to shepherd the company from a start-up in the late 1920s to one of the greatest movie studios in film history. Under Zanuck's command as head of production and later chairman, Fox produced countless memorable motion picture...

Family & Companions

Virginia Fox
Wife
Former actor. Married on January 24, 1924 until his death.
Bella Darvi
Companion
Actor.
Juliette Greco
Companion
Actor.

Bibliography

"Twentieth Century's Fox: Darryl F Zanuck and the Culture of Hollywood"
George F Custen, Basic Books (1997)
"The Zanucks of Hollywood: The Dark Legacy of an American Dynasty"
Marlys J Harris (1989)
"Fox That Got Away: The Last Days of the Zanuck Dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox"
Stephen M Silverman (1988)
"Zanuck: The Rise and Fall of the Last Tycoon"
Leonard Mosley, Little, Brown (1984)

Biography

One of the most prolific and accomplished moguls of Hollywood's Golden Age, Darryl F. Zanuck was the co-founder and primary force behind 20th Century Fox, and helped to shepherd the company from a start-up in the late 1920s to one of the greatest movie studios in film history. Under Zanuck's command as head of production and later chairman, Fox produced countless memorable motion pictures between 1934 and 1971, including Oscar winners "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940), "How Green Was My Valley" (1941), "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), "The King and I" (1958), "The Longest Day" (1962), "Planet of the Apes" (1968) and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969). Each of these films, along with dozens of others, benefitted from Zanuck's inherent skill at selecting projects that were both audience pleasers and quality pictures, and honing them from conception to release through careful nurturing of stars, scripts and directors. In doing so, he became an anomaly in the industry: a studio chief with eyes on both the bottom line and artistic merit. Though changing times eventually forced his ouster in the 1970s, Zanuck's exceptional list of productions made him one of the legendary movers and shakers in Hollywood history, and compared to his peers of the time, like Columbia's Harry Cohn and MGM's Louis B. Mayer, also one of the more pleasant of the Golden Age studio titans.

Darryl Francis Zanuck's early years were marked by sadness and a dogged determination to overcome the weight of those emotions. Born Sept. 5, 1902 in Wahoo, NE, he was the son of hotel owner Frank Zanuck and his wife, Louise Torpin. Their marriage was a disastrous one, marked by his father's alcoholism and his mother's ill health. At the age of six, he relocated to Los Angeles with his mother, who hoped that the drier climate would improve her condition. Zanuck was quickly packed off to military school, but frequently escaped to explore the new industry of motion pictures, which had captured his fascination. He made his film debut as an extra at the age of eight, playing a Native American girl in drag for a dollar a day. Zanuck was subsequently found out and shipped back to Nebraska to live with his father. In 1917, the 14-year-old Zanuck passed himself off as eighteen and joined the Nebraska National Guard. He was soon shipped off to the Mexican border before heading to France to serve as a messenger for the 163rd Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. After seeing combat on the frontlines during World War I, he returned to civilian life as an 18-year-old with little in the way of practical life experiences. He had learned to box while in the service, but had also seen some of his letters published in the military journal, Stars and Stripes. Despite his lack of education, he was determined to become a writer, and after moving to New York City, he labored in a variety of low-income jobs, including steelworker and boxer, before selling a story to Physical Culture magazine.

Flush with success, he headed to Los Angeles, where he again toiled in blue-collar jobs before finding financial security through an outdoor advertising company. He returned to writing and sold a story to the Fox Film Company for five hundred dollars. His next sale, based on his experiences as a salesman for the Yuccatone hair tonic company, earned him a position as a staff writer for Warner Bros. There, he wrote countless scripts under a variety of pseudonyms, including 1929's "Old San Francisco," and numerous adventures for the canine screen hero, Rin Tin Tin. While the scripts were never particularly notable from a technical standpoint, Zanuck had a knack for inventive scripting, as well as a decided interest in how his scripts were turned into films. He soon began to invest himself into the production and financial side of the business, and by 1927, he was the studio's manager. The following year, Zanuck rose to chief of production, the most powerful executive at the company. As chief of production, Zanuck broke ground on a number of significant films. He was the executive producer on "The Jazz Singer" (1928), which marked Warner's dominance in the new field of sound pictures. He also shepherded such landmark crime movies as "Little Caesar" (1930) and "The Public Enemy" (1931), as well as the modern musical, as epitomized by the iconic Busby Berkley film, "42nd Street" (1933).

Flush with a string of hits, he approached studio chief Jack Warner about becoming a partner in owning the studio. He was refused, and within 24 hours, Zanuck tore up his contract and joined forces with a group of industry titans, including United Artists president Joseph Schenck, Fox Films' William Goetz, silent movie comedian- turned-producer Raymond Griffith, and Schenck's brother, MGM CEO Nicholas Schenck, who provided much of the funding for the new entity known as 20th Century Pictures. Zanuck would be the new entity's chief of production, and Joseph Schenck's connection to UA provided them with distribution. Almost immediately, 20th Century began producing respected, if not financially successful pictures, starting with their first feature, "The House of Rothschild" (1934), which earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. However, the company lacked its own production facility to release a seriously competitive roster of pictures. Schenck remedied that by brokering a merger with the larger but bankrupt Fox Studios, which also counted a sizable theater chain among its assets.

Now ensconced as head of production for 20th Century-Fox (the hyphen was dropped in 1985), Zanuck took a hard look at the company's strengths and weaknesses. Of the former, he saw only the production facility and theater chain, but the latter was rife with examples, including the recent death of Fox's biggest star, Will Rogers, the decline of Janet Gaynor, and the dismissal of its two most promising male leads, Spencer Tracy and James Dunn, both for alcoholism. Faced with such a predicament, it was Zanuck's innate skill at finding and developing talent and projects that helped to keep Fox afloat during its growing pains. From the Fox roster, he found two burgeoning stars, musical performer Alice Faye and a seven-year-old with extraordinary magnetism named Shirley Temple. Both performers helped to keep Fox's coffers afloat during the hard times of the Great Depression by starring in lightweight, relentlessly upbeat films that carried audiences away from their personal difficulties.

Zanuck also began to build an impressive stable of stars and directors for his projects, including Tyrone Power, the son of a famed silent movie star of the same name, Henry Fonda, Don Ameche, the gorgeous Gene Tierney, and a leggy blonde named Betty Grable who became the film industry's top attraction during World War II. Fonda was particularly well used in tandem with former silent film director John Ford in such mature Westerns and dramas as "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940), which earned Ford an Oscar, "The Return of Frank James" (1940) and "My Darling Clementine" (1946). Zanuck was an exceptionally hands-on executive when it came to his scripts, offering concepts and story ideas that, more often than not, improved the material. He also introduced such legends of European cinema as Fritz Lang and Jean Renoir to the Hollywood system, and used Technicolor during wartime when many studios balked at spending the money. The decision proved to be a smart one, and helped to turn the scarlet-tressed Maureen O'Hara into a star born for Technicolor.

Under Zanuck, Fox earned a reputation for producing intelligent, adult-minded dramas as well as bright, frothy musicals, both of which found favor with moviegoers. A partial list of their wartime releases read like a list of classic Hollywood features, including "Blood and Sand" (1941) with Power, the multi-Oscar-winning "How Green Was My Valley" (1941), "The Song of Bernadette" (1943), "The Ox-Bow Incident" (1943), "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (1945), "Kiss of Death" (1947), and "Twelve O'Clock High" (1949). During this period, Zanuck also served as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Signal Corps, where he produced training films and combat documentaries, including a photographic record of the Allied Command's assault against German forces in Africa. His experiences there would later inform a spate of exceptional wartime dramas, including "A Walk in the Sun" (1945) and "Halls of Montezuma" (1950).

Not all of Zanuck's decrees were met with the same level of success. He dropped the Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes series at the height of their popularity, and both went on to be box office draws for other studios. He also alienated talent, including actor-director Otto Preminger, who would score a major hit for Fox with 1944's "Laura." Zanuck was also one of Hollywood's leading proponents of the casting couch, which left a blemish on his otherwise flawless reputation. Despite these setbacks, Zanuck remained a rarity in the film business: a mogul whose active participation in his studio's output was met with not only financial success, but the respect and admiration of his peers and employees.

Zanuck took extraordinary chances with the studio in the late 1940s and 1950s, often with wildly varying results. He tackled taboo subjects like anti-Semitism, mental illness and racism in 'The Snake Pit" (1945), Best Picture Oscar winner "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947) and "Pinky" (1951), and continued to make musicals when the art form was in decline. However, Fox's efforts in that genre were moneymakers, including "Carousel" (1956) and "The King and I" (1958), which won nine Academy Awards. Less successful was his attempt to fend off the growing popularity of television with the CinemaScope process, which gave the impression of depth of field without the use of special glasses. It was a hit upon its debut with 1951's "The Robe," but soon proved to be a fad, and was eventually eclipsed by Panavision in the late 1960s. However, Zanuck's gambles yielded more hits than misses: among his success stories of the period were early starring roles for such future icons as Marlon Brando with "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), Marilyn Monroe with "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953), Harry Belafonte in "Carmen Jones" (1954), Sam Fuller with "House of Bamboo" (1953), Jayne Mansfield in "The Girl Can't Help It" (1956) and Paul Newman in "The Long, Hot Summer" (1958). Zanuck also found hits in unlikely genres like science fiction with "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1955) and "The Fly" (1958), and continued to mine challenging subjects for stories, including teenage pregnancy with "Blue Denim" (1959) and shocking real-life murder cases like in "Compulsion" (1959). In fact it was Fox that Marilyn Monroe - who had replaced Grable as America's resident blonde bombshell - would call home throughout most of her brief career.

Such an expansive output eventually took its toll on Zanuck, and in 1956, he left Fox to become an independent producer in Europe. Many industry wags suggested that he had actually abandoned his post - and his wife, former actress Virginia Fox - over allegations of infidelity involving doomed actress Bella Darvi and scores of starlets. Whatever the case, he spent the next six years producing several unremarkable adventure films, including "The Roots of Heaven" (1958) and "Crack in the Mirror" (1960), most of which starred his then-current paramour, actress Juliette Greco.

In 1962, Zanuck embarked on his most ambitious project as producer, a massive, all-star World War II epic called "The Longest Day." A drama about the D-Day Invasion, "Day" starred a staggering cast of major actors from the United States, England, France and Germany, and featured no less than six directors, including uncredited turns behind the camera by Zanuck and co-star John Wayne. The completed film was slated for release by Fox, which was under the command of producer and theater chain owner Spyros P. Skouras, who was struggling with a pair of seemingly insurmountable production problems. The studio's historical epic "Cleopatra" (1963) had bled their coffers dry with its spiraling budget, and the romance between its stars, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, had generated reams of negative publicity. In an attempt to stem the tide of cash flowing out of the company, Fox had rushed in to produce a remake of "My Favorite Wife" (1940) with one of its most bankable stars, Marilyn Monroe. However, the project, "Something's Got to Give" (1962), had also run aground due to its star's psychological and substance issues. Skouras also wanted to push "Longest Day" into an abbreviated production schedule, but Zanuck, who remained the company's largest stockholder, cried foul, noting that a project like "Day" required considerable time and preparation in order to depict the events of D-Day with any accuracy. Sadly, it took the death of Monroe to convince Skouras to grant Zanuck the time and finances he needed to complete his movie. Released at over three hours in length, "Day" went on to become one of the most acclaimed World War II films ever made, and earned four Academy Awards.

Zanuck returned to Fox shortly after the film's release and delivered an eight-hour speech to the company's board of directors that convinced them to oust Skouras and return him as the head of Fox. He was soon installed as its chairman, and named his son Richard as president. One of his first actions was to seize control of "Cleopatra," which he rushed to completion. Zanuck then shut down the studio, instituted across-the-board layoffs, and devoted Fox's energies to crowd-pleasing, modestly budgeted films like "Surf Party" (1964), "Rio Conchos" (1964) and "Hush. Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964), all of which helped to rebuild its financial standing. By 1965, "The Sound of Music" truly ushered in Zanuck's second coming, with five Academy Awards and a box office take that was widely credited with saving the company.

Unfortunately, Fox under Zanuck in the 1960s seesawed between major hits and staggering failures. The company would release a spate of popular films, including "Batman: The Movie" (1966), "Fantastic Voyage" (1966) and "The Sand Pebbles" (1966), but lose their accumulated grosses through expensive flops like "Doctor Dolittle" (1967), which nearly brought Fox to its knees for a second time. There would be a handful of rebounds by the end of the decade, including "Planet of the Apes" (1968) and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), but nearly all of its 1968 and 1969 releases were met with critical derision and a chilly box office, including "Star!" (1968), "The Magus" (1968), "The Chairman" (1969), "Che!" (1969) and "Staircase" (1969), with Rex Harrison and Richard Burton as homosexual lovers. The coup de grace was "Hello, Dolly!" (1969), which failed to recoup even half of its massive $25 million budget.

Having posted losses from 1969 to 1971, Zanuck found himself locked in a struggle with Fox's board of directors, which included his own son, Richard. Shortly after the doomed release of his Pacific Theatre epic "Tora! Tora! Tora" (1970), Zanuck was ousted as Fox's chairman in May of 1971. After reuniting with his wife, Virginia, whom he had never divorced, his health went into sharp decline, due largely in part from undiagnosed Alzheimer's disease. Zanuck succumbed to cancer of the jaw on Dec. 22, 1979, leaving behind an extraordinary chapter in the history of American film. Son Richard would soon follow in his footsteps as one-half of The Zanuck/Brown Company, which would oversee "Jaws" (1975), "Cocoon" (1985) and "Driving Miss Daisy" (1991), and later in conjunction with his wife, Lili Fini Zanuck, as producer of Tim Burton's remake of "Planet of the Apes" (2001) and "Alice in Wonderland" (2010). Among Zanuck's long list of accolades were no less than three Irving Thalberg Awards in 1938, 1945 and 1951, respectively, as well as an Oscar nomination for "The Longest Day" (1963), a Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America, the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes in 1954, and the Best Foreign Film David for "The Longest Day."

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Sun Also Rises (1957)
Director of French seq

Cast (Feature Film)

The Big Show (1957)

Writer (Feature Film)

Crack in the Mirror (1960)
Screenwriter
I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now? (1947)
Contract Writer
The Razor's Edge (1946)
Addl scenes
Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1944)
Original story idea
The Purple Heart (1944)
From a story by
China Girl (1943)
Based on a Story by
Thunder Birds (1942)
Original Story
A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941)
Original Story
The Great Profile (1940)
Story
Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
Contract Writer
The Road to Glory (1936)
Contract Writer
Thanks a Million (1935)
Story
Folies Bergère de Paris (1935)
Contract Writer
Lady Killer (1933)
Story
Baby Face (1933)
Story
The Dark Horse (1932)
Story
The Life of the Party (1930)
Story
Say It with Songs (1929)
Story
Hardboiled Rose (1929)
Story
The Madonna of Avenue A (1929)
Story
Noah's Ark (1929)
Story
My Man (1928)
Story
Pay As You Enter (1928)
Story
The Midnight Taxi (1928)
Story
Tenderloin (1928)
Story
State Street Sadie (1928)
Story
The Black Diamond Express (1927)
Story
Irish Hearts (1927)
Story
Old San Francisco (1927)
Story
The First Auto (1927)
Story
Tracked by the Police (1927)
Story
Jaws of Steel (1927)
Story
Simple Sis (1927)
Story
Slightly Used (1927)
Story
The Missing Link (1927)
Story
The Desired Woman (1927)
Story
Good Time Charley (1927)
Story
The Black Diamond Express (1927)
Story
Ham and Eggs at the Front (1927)
Story
The Missing Link (1927)
Scen
Wolf's Clothing (1927)
Screenwriter
The Social Highwayman (1926)
Story
The Little Irish Girl (1926)
Adaptation
Oh, What a Nurse (1926)
Adaptation
The Caveman (1926)
Adaptation
Across the Pacific (1926)
Adaptation
The Better 'Ole (1926)
Adaptation
Footloose Widows (1926)
Scen
The Limited Mail (1925)
Scen
Seven Sinners (1925)
Adaptation
Seven Sinners (1925)
Story
A Broadway Butterfly (1925)
Story
Red Hot Tires (1925)
Story
Three Weeks in Paris (1925)
Story
Eve's Lover (1925)
Adaptation
Hogan's Alley (1925)
Adaptation
On Thin Ice (1925)
Adaptation
A Broadway Butterfly (1925)
Scen
Three Weeks in Paris (1925)
Scen
The Lighthouse by the Sea (1924)
Adaptation
The Millionaire Cowboy (1924)
Story
Find Your Man (1924)
Story
Find Your Man (1924)
Adaptation
Find Your Man (1924)
Scen

Producer (Feature Film)

The Longest Day (1962)
Producer
The Big Gamble (1961)
Producer
Crack in the Mirror (1960)
Producer
The Roots of Heaven (1958)
Producer
The Sun Also Rises (1957)
Producer
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)
Presented By
Carousel (1956)
Executive Producer
Oasis (1956)
Executive Producer
On the Threshold of Space (1956)
Executive Producer
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)
Producer
The King and I (1956)
Presented By
The View from Pompey's Head (1955)
Executive Producer
A Man Called Peter (1955)
Executive Producer
Seven Cities of Gold (1955)
Executive Producer
Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955)
Executive Producer
There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)
Presented By
The Egyptian (1954)
Producer
Broken Lance (1954)
Executive Producer
Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953)
Executive Producer
With a Song in My Heart (1952)
Executive Producer
The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)
Producer
Viva Zapata! (1952)
Producer
People Will Talk (1951)
Producer
David and Bathsheba (1951)
Producer
The Gunfighter (1950)
Executive Producer
Under My Skin (1950)
Executive Producer
All About Eve (1950)
Producer
Three Came Home (1950)
Presented By
Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
Executive Producer
I'll Get By (1950)
Executive Producer
Night and the City (1950)
Executive Producer
The Black Rose (1950)
Executive Producer
Stella (1950)
Executive Producer
The Mudlark (1950)
Presented By
No Way Out (1950)
Presented By
All About Eve (1950)
Presented By
Dancing in the Dark (1950)
Executive Producer
Love That Brute (1950)
Executive Producer
The Jackpot (1950)
Executive Producer
A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950)
Executive Producer
Mother Didn't Tell Me (1950)
Executive Producer
No Way Out (1950)
Producer
My Blue Heaven (1950)
Executive Producer
The Big Lift (1950)
Executive Producer
Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
Producer
Prince of Foxes (1949)
Executive Producer
Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949)
Executive Producer
Slattery's Hurricane (1949)
Executive Producer
The Forbidden Street (1949)
Executive Producer
Mother Is a Freshman (1949)
Executive Producer
You're My Everything (1949)
Executive Producer
Thieves' Highway (1949)
Executive Producer
Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)
Executive Producer
Pinky (1949)
Presented By
Everybody Does It (1949)
Executive Producer
That Wonderful Urge (1949)
Executive Producer
Come to the Stable (1949)
Executive Producer
It Happens Every Spring (1949)
Executive Producer
Pinky (1949)
Producer
House of Strangers (1949)
Executive Producer
The Fan (1949)
Executive Producer
Father Was a Fullback (1949)
Executive Producer
Sand (1949)
Executive Producer
Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
Presented By
Road House (1948)
Executive Producer
You Were Meant for Me (1948)
Executive Producer
Fury at Furnace Creek (1948)
Executive Producer
Gentleman's Agreement (1948)
Producer
Call Northside 777 (1948)
Executive Producer
The Street with No Name (1948)
Executive Producer
Captain from Castile (1948)
Presented By
Yellow Sky (1948)
Executive Producer
Sitting Pretty (1948)
Executive Producer
Apartment for Peggy (1948)
Executive Producer
Give My Regards to Broadway (1948)
Executive Producer
Gentleman's Agreement (1948)
Presented By
The Snake Pit (1948)
Presented By
The Iron Curtain (1948)
Presented By
The Luck of the Irish (1948)
Executive Producer
Cry of the City (1948)
Executive Producer
Captain from Castile (1948)
Executive Producer
The Walls of Jericho (1948)
Executive Producer
Escape (1948)
Executive Producer
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)
Executive Producer
Moss Rose (1947)
Executive Producer
13 Rue Madeleine (1947)
Executive Producer
Forever Amber (1947)
Presented By
The Foxes of Harrow (1947)
Executive Producer
Boomerang! (1947)
Presented By
Mother Wore Tights (1947)
Executive Producer
Carnival in Costa Rica (1947)
Executive Producer
The Homestretch (1947)
Executive Producer
Nightmare Alley (1947)
Executive Producer
Do You Love Me (1946)
Executive Producer
Wake Up and Dream (1946)
Executive Producer
The Razor's Edge (1946)
Producer
Centennial Summer (1946)
Executive Producer
Anna and the King of Siam (1946)
Presented By
Somewhere in the Night (1946)
Executive Producer
Three Little Girls in Blue (1946)
Executive Producer
Home Sweet Homicide (1946)
Executive Producer
Margie (1946)
Presented By
Dragonwyck (1946)
Presented By
My Darling Clementine (1946)
Presented By
If I'm Lucky (1946)
Executive Producer
Leave Her to Heaven (1946)
Presented By
Smoky (1946)
Executive Producer
Claudia and David (1946)
Executive Producer
Strange Triangle (1946)
Executive Producer
The Dolly Sisters (1945)
Executive Producer
The House on 92nd Street (1945)
Executive Producer
Buffalo Bill (1944)
Executive Producer
Lifeboat (1944)
Executive Producer
Winged Victory (1944)
Producer
Crash Dive (1943)
Executive Producer
Wintertime (1943)
Executive Producer
China Girl (1943)
Executive Producer
At the Front in North Africa with the U.S. Army (1943)
Producer
Moontide (1942)
Executive Producer
Remember the Day (1942)
Executive Producer
Thunder Birds (1942)
Executive Producer
This Above All (1942)
Producer
Song of the Islands (1942)
Executive Producer
The Magnificent Dope (1942)
Executive Producer
The Pied Piper (1942)
Executive Producer
The Black Swan (1942)
Executive Producer
To the Shores of Tripoli (1942)
Producer
Footlight Serenade (1942)
Executive Producer
Son of Fury (1942)
Producer
Roxie Hart (1942)
Executive Producer
My Gal Sal (1942)
Executive Producer
Swamp Water (1941)
Executive Producer
The Great American Broadcast (1941)
Executive Producer
A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941)
Producer
Charley's Aunt (1941)
Executive Producer
Moon Over Miami (1941)
Executive Producer
Confirm or Deny (1941)
Producer
Tobacco Road (1941)
Producer
Wild Geese Calling (1941)
Executive Producer
Tall, Dark and Handsome (1941)
Executive Producer
Sun Valley Serenade (1941)
Executive Producer
Rise and Shine (1941)
Executive Producer
Western Union (1941)
Executive Producer
Hudson's Bay (1941)
Executive Producer
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Producer
Week-End in Havana (1941)
Executive Producer
Blood and Sand (1941)
Producer
Man Hunt (1941)
Executive Producer
That Night in Rio (1941)
Executive Producer
I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Executive Producer
The Return of Frank James (1940)
Producer
Four Sons (1940)
Producer
Elsa Maxwell's Public Deb No. 1 (1940)
Producer
The Mark of Zorro (1940)
Executive Producer
Chad Hanna (1940)
Executive Producer
Maryland (1940)
Executive Producer
Down Argentine Way (1940)
Producer
The Great Profile (1940)
Producer
The Man I Married (1940)
Producer
The Rains Came (1939)
Producer
Susannah of the Mounties (1939)
Executive Producer
Hollywood Cavalcade (1939)
Producer
You Can't Have Everything (1937)
Executive Producer
Your Uncle Dudley (1935)
Executive Producer
Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1934)
Producer
42nd Street (1933)
Producer
Ex-Lady (1933)
Producer
Life Begins (1932)
Executive Producer
Illicit (1931)
Producer
The Doorway to Hell (1930)
Executive Producer
The Show of Shows (1929)
Supervisor

Production Companies (Feature Film)

The Longest Day (1962)
Company
The Chapman Report (1962)
Company
The Big Gamble (1961)
Company
Compulsion (1959)
Company
Wilson (1945)
Company
The Purple Heart (1944)
Company
Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942)
Company
Little Old New York (1940)
Company
Lillian Russell (1940)
Company
He Married His Wife (1940)
Company
Brigham Young--Frontiersman (1940)
Company
Swanee River (1940)
Company
I Was an Adventuress (1940)
Company
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Company
Star Dust (1940)
Company
The Blue Bird (1940)
Company
Johnny Apollo (1940)
Company
The Return of the Cisco Kid (1939)
Company
The Little Princess (1939)
Company
Rose of Washington Square (1939)
Company
The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)
Company
Stanley and Livingstone (1939)
Company
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Company
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
Company
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Company
Jesse James (1939)
Company
Second Fiddle (1939)
Company
Here I Am a Stranger (1939)
Company
Wife, Husband and Friend (1939)
Company
Tail Spin (1939)
Company
Day-Time Wife (1939)
Company
Elsa Maxwell's Hotel for Women (1939)
Company
Everything Happens at Night (1939)
Company
The Three Musketeers (1939)
Company
Barricade (1939)
Company
The Gorilla (1939)
Company
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
Company
My Lucky Star (1938)
Company
In Old Chicago (1938)
Company
Happy Landing (1938)
Company
Josette (1938)
Company
Four Men and a Prayer (1938)
Company
Just Around the Corner (1938)
Company
Little Miss Broadway (1938)
Company
Hold That Co-Ed (1938)
Company
Kidnapped (1938)
Company
Thanks for Everything (1938)
Company
I'll Give a Million (1938)
Company
Straight Place and Show (1938)
Company
Kentucky Moonshine (1938)
Company
Submarine Patrol (1938)
Company
Three Blind Mice (1938)
Company
Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
Company
Always Goodbye (1938)
Company
Kentucky (1938)
Company
Suez (1938)
Company
Sally, Irene and Mary (1938)
Company
The Baroness and the Butler (1938)
Company
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)
Company
Gateway (1938)
Company
Slave Ship (1937)
Company
Life Begins in College (1937)
Company
This Is My Affair (1937)
Company
On the Avenue (1937)
Company
Heidi (1937)
Company
Wee Willie Winkie (1937)
Company
Love and Hisses (1937)
Company
Wife, Doctor and Nurse (1937)
Company
Fifty Roads to Town (1937)
Company
Seventh Heaven (1937)
Company
Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)
Company
Nancy Steele Is Missing! (1937)
Company
Wake Up and Live (1937)
Company
Love Under Fire (1937)
Company
Second Honeymoon (1937)
Company
Love Is News (1937)
Company
Danger - Love at Work (1937)
Company
Lancer Spy (1937)
Company
One in a Million (1937)
Company
Thin Ice (1937)
Company
Café Metropole (1937)
Company
Dimples (1936)
Company
It Had to Happen (1936)
Company
The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)
Company
Ramona (1936)
Company
Sins of Man (1936)
Company
The Country Doctor (1936)
Company
Captain January (1936)
Company
Lloyd's of London (1936)
Company
White Fang (1936)
Company
Ladies in Love (1936)
Company
Professional Soldier (1936)
Company
Private Number (1936)
Company
King of Burlesque (1936)
Company
Pigskin Parade (1936)
Company
Girls' Dormitory (1936)
Company
Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)
Company
Everybody's Old Man (1936)
Company
To Mary--With Love (1936)
Company
Sing, Baby, Sing (1936)
Company
Under Two Flags (1936)
Company
A Message to Garcia (1936)
Company
Half Angel (1936)
Company
The Road to Glory (1936)
Company
Stowaway (1936)
Company
White Hunter (1936)
Company
Reunion (1936)
Company
The Littlest Rebel (1935)
Company
Clive of India (1935)
Company
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo (1935)
Company
Thanks a Million (1935)
Company
Metropolitan (1935)
Company
Show Them No Mercy! (1935)
Company
The Call of the Wild (1935)
Company
Cardinal Richelieu (1935)
Company
L'homme des Folies Bergère (1935)
Company
Folies Bergère de Paris (1935)
Company
Les Misérables (1935)
Company
The Affairs of Cellini (1934)
Company
Gallant Lady (1934)
Company
The House of Rothschild (1934)
Company
Moulin Rouge (1934)
Company
The Mighty Barnum (1934)
Company
The Last Gentleman (1934)
Company
Looking for Trouble (1934)
Company
Born to Be Bad (1934)
Company
Broadway Thru a Keyhole (1933)
Company
Advice to the Lovelorn (1933)
Company
The Bowery (1933)
Company
Blood Money (1933)
Company

Cast (Short)

The Screen Writer (1950)
Himself
Cavalcade of the Academy Awards (1940)
Himself
The 42nd. Street Special (1933)
Himself

Life Events

1908

At age six, moved with mother to Glendale, California

1919

Moved to L.A. to work in motion pictures

1923

Hired by Warner Bros. as staff screenwriter for Rin Tin Tin

1928

Made studio manager of Warner Bros.

1929

Put in charge of production at Warner Bros.

1933

Resigned from Warner Bros. after conflict over studio policy

1933

Formed 20th Century Pictures with Joseph Schenck

1935

20th Century combined with Fox Studios to form 20th Century-Fox

1935

Served as chief of production at 20th Century-Fox

1956

Became independent producer

1962

Elected president of 20th Century-Fox

1969

Became chairman and CEO of 20th Century-Fox, hired son as president

1970

Fired son as president; held on to own position for less than a year

1971

Resigned as CEO of 20th Century-Fox

Photo Collections

The Grapes of Wrath - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release American movie posters for The Grapes of Wrath (1940), starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford.

Videos

Movie Clip

Ex-Lady (1933) - That's What He Said Now at a chic Manhattan show hosted by painter Nick (Monroe Owsley), Bette Davis, as in-demand magazine illustrator Helen, parries his advances, with provocative chat about his nudes, until they’re joined by her less-prominent but loyal beau Don (Gene Raymond), who reaffirms their plan to not marry, in the edgy pre-Code Warner Bros.’ sex comedy Ex-Lady, 1933.
House Of Bamboo (1955) - Open, This Is A Military Supply Train Skewing convention even with his all-news exposition, Samuel Fuller, directing for producer Buddy Adler, Darryl Zanuck and 20th Century-Fox, begins the first American studio feature shot wholly in Japan, with violence and Mount Fuji, in House Of Bamboo, 1955, starring Robert Stack and Robert Ryan.
Blue Bird, The (1940) - It's Against The Law! Opening in black & white from a Maurice Maeterlinck fantasy (thus seen as similar to the previous year’s The Wizard Of Oz), Shirley Temple and little bro Johnny Russell are woodcutters’ kids seeking a precious bird, Sybil Jason their bothersome friend, in 20th Century-Fox’s The Blue Bird, 1940.
Blue Bird, The (1940) - I Always Knew You Were A Fool! Just now transformed from the family cat and dog, Gale Sondergaard and Eddie Collins don’t agree on whether to aid the children (Shirley Temple as Mytyl, Johnny Russell as Tyltyl), guided by the spirit “Light” (Helen Ericson), in their search, in The Blue Bird, 1940, from a Maurice Maeterlinck story.
Blue Bird, The (1940) - Lay-Dee-O Now in a dream in Technicolor having found their deceased grandparents (Cecilia Loftus, Al Shean) in their search for a certain bird of happiness, Shirley Temple as Mytyl (Johnny Russell as littler Tyltyl) offers her only song in the picture, a traditional, in 20th Century-Fox’s The Blue Bird, 1940.
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) - I Love Red Hair The entire performance by Pauline Moore (as first-love Ann Rutledge), coming upon Abe (Henry Fonda) reading law in the woods, early in John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln, 1939, from Lamar Trotti's original screenplay.
Drums Along The Mohawk (1939) - At The Borst Home The first scene in director John Ford’s first color (Technicolor) film, Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert as colonials Gil and Lana are married in Albany, New York, 1776, cinematography credit shared by Bert Glennon and Ray Rennahan, Edwin Maxwell the celebrant, Robert Grieg and Clara Blandick her parents, opening Drums Along The Mohawk, 1939.
Susannah Of The Mounties (1939) - Is That Your Pony? Cordial when you consider that, broadly speaking, his tribe probably just slaughtered her family and wagon train, survivor Shirley Temple (title character) and Canadian Blackfeet “Little Chief,” who’s been left with the white men as a de facto hostage during peace talks, have a normal juvenile spat, Randolph Scott intervening, in Susannah Of The Mounties, 1939.
Susannah Of The Mounties (1939) - One Little Word Pretty horrifying opening, at least in the Shirley Temple canon, as she’s found by Northwest Mounted Police officer “Monty” (Randolph Scott), the sole survivor of an outright massacre by Blackfeet Indians in Canada, in 20th Century Fox’s Susannah Of The Mounties, 1939, also starring Margaret Lockwood.
Susannah Of The Mounties (1939) - I'll Teach You To Waltz Shirley Temple (title character, survivor of a wagon-train massacre) helps Monty (Randolph Scott), her rescuer and Northwest Mounted Police officer, with dance technique, J. Farrell MacDonald accompanying, and Margaret Lockwood, the commander’s daughter, his object, in Susannah Of The Mounties, 1939.
Gentleman's Agreement (1948) - I Think Sometimes For Myself Crossing Grand Army Plaza alongside the Plaza hotel, New Yorker director Elia “Gadge” Kazan introduces leading man Gregory Peck and Dean Stockwell his son, then visiting Atlas at Rockefeller Plaza, meeting Ann Revere as his mom, and visiting the heady confines of fictional Smith’s Weekly, opening the Best Picture-winning Gentleman’s Agreement, 1948.
Gentleman's Agreement (1948) -- I'm Jewish Myself Magazine writer Phil (Gregory Peck), new on the staff at prominent Smith's Weekly, now telling everyone he's Jewish for his anti-Semitism story, has a first talk with his secretary (June Havoc), then with the doctor (Nicholas Joy) treating his mother, in Gentleman's Agreement, 1948.

Trailer

Snows of Kilimanjaro, The - (Original Trailer) Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward star in the Henry King's adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's story The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952).
Gunfighter, The - (Re-issue Trailer) The fastest gun in the West (Gregory Peck) tries to escape his reputation in The Gunfighter (1950).
With A Song In My Heart - (Original Trailer) Singer Jane Froman (Susan Hayward) comes back after a plane crash in the biopic With A Song In My Heart (1952).
Ex-Lady - (Original Trailer) A female artist (Bette Davis) is torn between her belief in free love and the constraints of romance in the pre-Code drama, Ex-Lady (1933).
Gentleman's Agreement - (Academy Award trailer) Three Academy Awards went to Gentleman's Agreement (1947) an exposé of American anti-semitism starring Gregory Peck and John Garfield, directed by Elia Kazan.
Sun Valley Serenade - (Re-issue trailer) A Norwegian war orphan (Sonja Henie) adopted by a pianist as a publicity stunt turns out to be a beautiful young woman in Sun Valley Serenade (1941).
Nightmare Alley - (Textless Trailer) An ambitious carnival worker (Tyrone Power) attempts to scam his way out of the carnival in the brutal noir Nightmare Alley (1947).
How Green Was My Valley - (Re-issue Trailer) Five Oscars®, including Best Picture and Director, went to John Ford's portrait of a Welsh mining town, How Green Was My Valley (1941).
Black Swan, The - (Original Trailer) When he's named governor of Jamaica, a former pirate sets out to clean up the Caribbean in The Black Swan, 1942, starring Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara.
Illicit - (Original Trailer) Young free-thinkers turn conventionally jealous when they marry in the pre-code drama Illicit (1931) starring Barbara Stanwyck.
Roxie Hart - (Original teaser trailer) To try and kick-start her show-business career, a woman (Ginger Rogers) admits to a Chicago murder in Roxie Hart (1942).
Carousel - (Original Trailer) A dramatic love story unfolds between a rough-talking, macho carousel barker, and a young, innocent mill worker in Carousel (1956).

Family

Francis Zanuck
Father
Louise Zanuck
Mother
Divorced from Zanuck's father c. 1908.
Joseph Norton
Step-Father
Darrylin Zanuck de Pineda
Daughter
Susan Zanuck
Daughter
Richard Darryl Zanuck
Son
Producer, production executive. Born in 1934.

Companions

Virginia Fox
Wife
Former actor. Married on January 24, 1924 until his death.
Bella Darvi
Companion
Actor.
Juliette Greco
Companion
Actor.

Bibliography

"Twentieth Century's Fox: Darryl F Zanuck and the Culture of Hollywood"
George F Custen, Basic Books (1997)
"The Zanucks of Hollywood: The Dark Legacy of an American Dynasty"
Marlys J Harris (1989)
"Fox That Got Away: The Last Days of the Zanuck Dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox"
Stephen M Silverman (1988)
"Zanuck: The Rise and Fall of the Last Tycoon"
Leonard Mosley, Little, Brown (1984)
"Zanuck: Hollywood's Last Tycoon"
Leo Guild (1970)
"Darryl F Zanuck: Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking"
Mel Gussow
"Memo From Daryl F Zanuck: The Golden Years at Twentieth Century Fox"
Rudy Behlmer (editor)