Zack Norman

Zack Norman (born Howard Jerrold Zuker; May 27, 1940) is an American actor, producer, writer, comedian, musician, film financier, painter, art collector and real estate developer. Born in Boston and raised in nearby Revere, Massachusetts, he is best known for his role as Ira in 20th Century Fox's Romancing the Stone (1984)[1] and as Kaz Naiman in Paramount Classics' Festival in Cannes (2001).[2] He has also co-starred in films such as Ragtime (1981), Cadillac Man (1990) [3] and Chief Zabu (2016), which he also co-wrote, co-produced and co-directed.[4] His latest starring role was in E.N.T.E.R. (2018), which won Best Comedy in October at the first Cutting Room International Short Film Festival in NYC.[5] On television, he has guest-starred in such popular series as The A-Team (1985) and Baywatch (1993), had a recurring role on The Nanny (1993–1995)[6] and was featured in several TV movies including At Home with the Webbers (1993).[7] As Howard Zuker, he has produced, presented and/or financed more than forty motion pictures, including Hearts and Minds (1974),[8] which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[9]

Zack Norman
Zack Norman in Festival in Cannes
Howard Jerrold Zuker

(1940-05-27) May 27, 1940
Boston, MA
Alma materVanderbilt University, Harvard Business School
Known forActor, producer, financier

Legit theatre and stand-up

Norman began performing as a stand-up comedian in strip joints and nightclubs while producing his first Off-Broadway play, the New York premiere of John Arden's Live Like Pigs,[10] which opened on June 7, 1965. In 1966 he left for Europe to work the U.S. Army Base Circuit operating out of Frankfurt, Germany, playing army clubs throughout Western Europe. On June 7, 1967, Norman opened at the Playboy Club in London, England, where Variety wrote he was "hysterical... one of the funniest guys ever to cross these shores".[11] Soon he was headlining in every Playboy Club on their 18-venue circuit, as well as appearing in hotels and nightclubs such as The Flamingo in Las Vegas and New York's Copacabana with The Temptations. Norman made his debut on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on April 28, 1969.[12] As a stage actor, he starred in more than 20 plays. His performance in the title role of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Connecticut (1980) was critically acclaimed.[13]

Motion pictures

In May 1969, Norman traveled to the Cannes International Film Festival in France to put deals together for movie projects. As Howard Zuker, he had developed a film fund financed by a group of Boston real estate investors based on tax ramifications related to the real estate business, i.e. amortization and depreciation, which could be translated into tax incentives for motion picture investment.[14] Norman applied these to his fund, formed Gemini Pictures International, with himself as President.[15] The company's first release was the Italian-made Which Way Do You Dig? (also known as Dark of the Day; And The Bombs Keep Falling and I Cannoni Tuonano Ancora), in which he also co-starred alongside Spaghetti Western actor Robert Woods.[16] Over the course of his career, Norman would go on to act in, produce, and finance scores of movies, raising in excess of $100,000,000 for motion picture production, most notably with French producer Henry Lange, with whom he made over a dozen films[17] — including the 1971 vampire lesbian cult hit, Daughters of Darkness – and with Hollywood legend Bert Schneider: Hearts And Minds (Warner Bros., 1974), The Gentleman Tramp (1976) and Paramount's 1977 Tracks, which in addition was produced by[18] and co-starred[19] Norman and was directed by Henry Jaglom, who would become Norman's most frequent moviemaking partner.[20] As producer, presenter, financier and actor, Norman has collaborated with Jaglom for the last 40 years on such films as Sitting Ducks (1980),[21] Venice, Venice (1992),[22] Babyfever (1994),[23] Hollywood Dreams (2005),[24] Irene in Time (2009),[25] Queen of the Lot (2010)[26] and Festival in Cannes (2001),[2] for which Norman received favorable reviews.[27]

In 1998, Norman acquired the catalog of the American Play Company (founded 1889) for himself and actor-producer Michael Douglas for their newly formed joint venture, The American Entertainment Holding Company (AEHC),[28] which controlled the rights to thousands of plays and manuscripts by such authors as John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw, Eugene O'Neill, Thornton Wilder, Oscar Wilde, A.A. Milne and Maurine Dallas Watkins. In 2008, Norman initiated a lawsuit against Douglas; the two settled out of court, dissolving the partnership.[29][30]

In 2006, Variety's Elizabeth Guider wrote of Norman: "There are people through the decades who become regular fixtures in the pages of Variety – everyone from Al Jolson to Jimmy Durante to Michael Ovitz to Harvey Weinstein. But no one's presence has been as constant as that of Zack Norman." The reason for this, she wrote, is that in the 1980s he regularly bought ads promoting himself on page 6 of the newspaper.[31][32]

Fine arts: Painter and collector

Zack is also a painter as well as an art collector, counting among his acquisitions five pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose “Untitled” just sold (May 18, 2017) at Sotheby’s New York for $110.5 million, setting the record price for an American artist at auction.[33] In 1982, Zack purchased “Hannibal” from Basquiat in the artist’s studio for $3200. That piece sold last year at Sotheby's London for £10.6 million.[34] Zack himself started painting in 1976.


Film acting

Television acting


  1. "Romancing-the-Stone - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  2. "Festival-in-Cannes - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  3. "Cadillac-Man - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  4. Kenny, Glenn (August 16, 2017). "Cult Film and In-Joke Hits the Comedy Clubs". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  5. "2018 Winners – the Cutting Room International Short Film Festival". Cutting Room International Short Film Festival. Cutting Room. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  6. "Zack Norman - Filmography - Movies & TV -". January 18, 2007. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  7. "At-Home-With-the-Webbers - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  8. Easy Riders And Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind, published 1998 by Simon & Schuster, p. 187 ISBN 0 684 80996-6
  9. Boxer, Sarah (June 17, 2004). "Finding Echoes of Iraq War in a Film About Vietnam". The New York Times.
  10. "Lortel Archives-The Internet Off-Broadway Database". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  11. Zack Norman at the London Playboy Club (Review), Weekly Variety, page 53, August 28, 1968 (
  12. "Facts/History/Trivia/Music - Year in Review Video Timeline - 1955 Through 2013".
  13. "Brecht Play a Vital Tour De Force", Gannett Westchester Newspapers, Section B, page 5, Thursday, May 29, 1980
  14. Sloane, Leonard (November 22, 1970). "New Backers for Movies – Business, not 'Going Hollywood', is their Motive" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  15. Adams, Marjory (January 18, 1970). "Brookline actor forms own film company". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  16. "BFI | Film & TV Database | I CANNONI TUONANO ANCORA (1969)". April 16, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  17. Daily Variety, Tuesday, October 29, 2002(
  18. "Tracks - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  19. "Tracks - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  20. "Zack Norman Interview by Henry Jaglom".
  21. "Sitting-Ducks - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  22. "Venice-Venice - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  23. "Babyfever - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  24. Catsoulis, Jeannette (May 25, 2007). "Movies – Hollywood Dreams". The New York Times.
  25. "Irene-in-Time - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  26. Catsoulis, Jeannette (December 2, 2010). "'Queen of the Lot,' a Henry Jaglom Sequel – Review". The New York Times.
  27. Festival in Cannes, review by Scott Foundas, Daily Variety, Fri., November 2, 2001,
  28. "AEHC Business Summary". Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  29. "Michael Douglas sued by Zack Norman". Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  30. "EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: Michael Douglas Sued For Fraud By Former Business Partner". Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  31. Elizabeth Guider, Weekly Variety, 100th anniversary issue of Weekly Variety, Feb 6–12, 2006 Aspiring thesp turned cash into quirky cachet / Norman becomes a H'wood fixture
  32. Centennial Souvenir Album Variety 1905–2005 prepared and edited by Peter Besas, published 2005 by Cyan, Proyectos y Producciones Editoriales,. S.A. Madrid, Spain, p. 110 [“Caption Cuts”], ISBN 84-8198-599-6, Dep. Leg. M-32216-2005
  33. "Jean-Michel Basquiat painting scores record $110.5M at auction". USA Today. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  34. Freeman, Nate (October 7, 2016). "Sotheby's Contemporary Sale Nets $59.6 M., Beating High Estimate, With $13.1 M. Basquiat Leading the Way". Artnews. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  35. "Zack Norman Filmography". Retrieved February 1, 2014.
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