Home   >   Movie Stars   >   Z   >   Saul Zaentz

Saul Zaentz

Saul Zaentz is a record company executive and film producer. After serving in the United States Army during World War II he began realizing his passion for music as a distributor for Granz's Jazz Record company, a job that included managing concert tours for greats like Duke Ellington and Stan Getz. In 1955 he joined Fantasy Records, for many years the largest independent jazz record label in the world. Fantasy Records was sold to independent jazz label Concord in 2005 for $80 million.

In 1967 Zaentz purchased the Fantasy label and in 1975 began using the company to move on to his second passion, the movie industry. Zaentz himself takes a very active role in the movies he produces, especially in the film's editing, marketing, and distributing.

Fantasy Records owns the rights to the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Zaentz has had a long-running disagreement about this with former CCR singer/songwriter John Fogerty. The songs Vanz Kant Danz and Mr. Greed, from Fogerty's album Centerfield are thinly veiled slams of him.

He has received an Oscar for three of his films, all winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Amadeus (1984), both directed by Milos Forman, and The English Patient (1996) directed by Anthony Minghella. At the 69th Academy Awards Zaentz also accepted The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for life achievement.

Through Tolkien Enterprises, Saul Zaentz owns the worldwide film, stage, and merchandise rights to J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. In 2005 Zaentz embarked on a new film project, producing Goya's Ghosts, a biopic of Spanish painter Francisco Goya, to be directed by long-time collaborator Milos Forman, screenplay by Jean-Claude Carriere.

In 1980 Zaentz created The Saul Zaentz Film Center in Berkeley, California. As of 2005 it is used as an editing and sound mixing studio for many Academy Award winning films.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.

Saul Zaentz Facts

BirthdayFebruary 28, 1921 (100)
BirthplacePassaic, New Jersey, USA

Selected Filmography

Goya's Ghosts
The English Patient
Unbearable Lightness of Being
Lord of the Rings
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Mosquito Coast
Continue » Find more details on the Saul Zaentz Movies page