Darryl F. Zanuck

Film Producer
Born Sep 5, 1902

Darryl Francis Zanuck was an American producer, writer, actor, director and studio executive who played a major part in the Hollywood studio system as one of its longest survivors. He earned three Academy Awards during his tenure.

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1902 Birth Born on September 5, 1902.


1918 15 Years Old In 1918, despite being sixteen, he deceived a recruiter, joined the United States Army, and served in France with the Nebraska National Guard.
1922 19 Years Old Upon returning to the US, he worked in many part-time jobs while seeking work as a writer. He found work producing movie plots, and sold his first story in 1922 to William Russell and his second to Irving Thalberg. … Read More


1924 21 Years Old Zanuck then worked for Mack Sennett and FBO (where he wrote the serials The Telephone Girl and The Leather Pushers) and took that experience to Warner Bros, where he wrote stories for Rin Tin Tin and under a number of pseudonyms wrote over forty scripts from 1924 to 1929, including Red Hot Tires (1925) and Old San Francisco (1927).
1929 26 Years Old He moved into management in 1929, and became head of production in 1931.


1933 30 Years Old In 1933, Zanuck left Warners over a salary dispute with studio head Jack L. Warner. … Read More
1935 32 Years Old After a dispute with United Artists over stock ownership, Schenck and Zanuck negotiated and bought out the bankrupt Fox studios in 1935 to form Twentieth-Century Fox Film Corporation. … Read More
1941 38 Years Old When the U.S. entered World War II at the end of 1941, he was commissioned as a Colonel in the Army Signal Corps, but was frustrated to find himself posted to the Astoria studios in Queens, Long Island and, even worse, serving alongside the spoiled son of Universal's founder, Carl Laemmle Jr., who was chauffeured by limousine to Long Island each morning from a luxury Manhattan hotel. … Read More


…  Nonetheless, when Col. Zanuck was named in this investigation in 1944, the usually combative mogul uncharacteristically and abruptly resigned his commission and left the Army. … Read More


1955 52 Years Old …  Todd-AO came out in 1955, and after its developer, Mike Todd, died in 1958, Zanuck invested in the process for Fox's most exclusive roadshows. … Read More
1956 53 Years Old In 1956, Zanuck withdrew from the studio and left his wife, Virginia Fox, to move to Europe and concentrate on independent producing with a generous contract from Fox that gave him directing and casting control on any projects Fox financed. … Read More


1970 67 Years Old At the end of 1970, Zanuck hurriedly assembled the board the day before New Year's. … Read More
1979 77 Years Old A long-time cigar smoker, he died of jaw cancer at the age of 77 in 1979. … Read More
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