Sol M. Wurtzel

Sol Wurtzel (born Solomon Max Wurtzel, (September 12, 1890 – April 9, 1958) was an American film producer.

Sol M. Wurtzel
Sol M. Wurtzel in 1933
Solomon Max Wurtzel

(1890-09-12)September 12, 1890
DiedApril 9, 1958(1958-04-09) (aged 67)
Resting placeHillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California
OccupationMotion picture producer

Life and career

Tom Mix, actor; Sol Wurtzel, West Coast manager for Fox Film Corporation; and Winfield R. Sheehan, Fox Film general manager (1919)
William Farnum, Helen and Babe Ruth and Wurtzel on the Fox Studios lot in Hollywood (1920)

Born in New York City; his parents were both German Jews (Surname Wurtzel is a variant spelling of German and Yiddish wurzel, root in English). Wurtzel worked as an executive assistant to William Fox, founding owner of the Fox Film Corporation. In 1911, Wurtzel hired Alan E. Freedman as a bookkeeper for Fox's fledgling film processing laboratory. Freedman would remain for over 50 years, eventually turning the operation into the gargantuan "Color by DeLuxe" DeLuxe Laboratories. In 1917, Fox sent Wurtzel to California to oversee the studio's West Coast productions. He developed a formula for creating consistently profitable B movies that are heralded today. (source-Early Fox Film Corporation-letters)

Wurtzel eventually became involved in production and between 1932 and 1949 he produced more than 159 films including a large number of both the Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto series as well as other successes such as Bright Eyes in 1934, starring Shirley Temple and featuring her enduring trademark song: "On The Good Ship Lollipop".

He discovered young director John Ford who later went on to earn four Academy Awards. He also discovered and made a star of famous cowboy Will Rogers. (source: Early Fox Film Company- letters)

Wurtzel cast dancer Rita Hayworth (then Rita Cansino) in her first film role, the 1935 production Dante's Inferno. He gave an unknown Marilyn Monroe her first walk-on in his 1947 production of Dangerous Years.

He produced several of Laurel and Hardy's later comedies in the 1940s, including Great Guns (1941), A-Haunting We Will Go (1942), Jitterbugs (1943) and The Big Noise (1944). In 1943, he produced Chetniks! The Fighting Guerrillas on the guerrilla resistance movement in Serbia.

Personal life and death

Ill for many years following a stroke in 1952, Wurtzel died at his home in Hollywood on April 9, 1958.[1] John Ford delivered the eulogy at his funeral. Wurtzel was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Wurtzel served as the first President of Temple Israel of Hollywood.[2]

Much of Wurtzel's family continued to work at Fox Studios until the late 1980s.

Select filmography

Year Title Notes
1926 Rustling for Cupid [3]
1926 The Shamrock Handicap [3]
1931 Once a Sinner [3]
1931 Body and Soul [3]
1933 Charlie Chan's Greatest Case [3]
1933 The Man Who Dared [3]
1933 Smoke Lightning [3]
1933 The Last Trail [3]
1933 Life in the Raw [3]
1933 Walls of Gold [3]
1933 Smoky [3]
1934 Judge Priest [3]
1934 Handy Andy [3]
1934 Bright Eyes [3]
1935 Charlie Chan in Paris [3]
1935 Dante's Inferno [3]
1936 Ramona [3]
1936 Thank You, Jeeves! [3]
1936 Gentle Julia [3]
1937 Think Fast, Mr. Moto [3]
1937 Thank You, Mr. Moto [3]
1939 Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation [3]
1940 The Man Who Wouldn't Talk [3]
1941 Charlie Chan in Rio [3]
1941 Dressed to Kill [3]
1941 Michael Shayne, Private Detective [3]
1942 A Haunting We Will Go [3]
1942 The Lone Star Ranger [3]
1943 Chetniks! The Fighting Guerrillas [3]
1944 The Big Noise [3]
1947 Backlash [3]
1947 Roses Are Red [3]
1947 The Invisible Wall [3]
1947 Second Chance [3]
1948 Half Past Midnight [3]
1949 Miss Mink of 1949 [3]
1949 Tucson [3]


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