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Sample Autograph Signature: Darryl F. Zanuck

Legendary Hollywood film and TV producer. Darryl F. Zanuck (1902 - 1979) was one of the kingpins of Hollywood's studio system. Abandoned by his parents at 13, he joined the U.S. Army at 15 and fought in Belgium in World War I. After the war, he had a series of jobs while pursuing a career as a writer. He turned his first published story into a film scenario. Often described as barely literate, Zanuck had a knack for movie plots. For Warner Brothers he ground out up to 19 scripts a year, and became head of production at age 23. He helped forge their style with such films as The Jazz Singer and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. In 1933, he quit to co-found Twentieth Century Pictures with Joseph Schenck. In 1935, Twentieth absorbed Fox and he ruled the combined studio until 1971. He was the most "hands-on" of the major studio bosses, taking particular pride in remaking movies in the cutting room. In the late fifties, Zanuck left his wife, and moved to Europe to concentrate on producing. Many of his later films were designed in part to promote the careers of his string of girlfriends, none of whom found favor with directors or audiences. He returned to run 20th Century-Fox in 1971 and promoted his son, Richard D. Zanuck, to head of production; then engineered his firing in a messy boardroom brawl. A few months later, May 1971, Zanuck himself was deposed: the last studio boss of his era to go down.

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Author: Darryl F. Zanuck

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