Samuel Goldwyn Jr. dies at 88; Hollywood scion forged his own path

Samuel Goldwyn Jr.
Film producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. has died of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles at 88.
(Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)

Samuel Goldwyn Jr., who was born into one of the founding families of the Hollywood studio system but became a champion of independent film productions, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 88.

The cause was congestive heart failure, according to his son, Peter Goldwyn.

Though his father was one Hollywood’s original moguls, Sam Jr. became one of the leaders of the independent film movement of the 1970s and ‘80s, producing low-budget hits such as “Mystic Pizza,” which proved to be Julia Roberts’ big break, and “Cotton Comes to Harlem.”

His company was one of the largest indie operations, rivaling New Line and Miramax.


Goldwyn, named for his famous father, became known as an accomplished filmmaker in his own right. He formed the Samuel Goldwyn Co. after his father’s death in 1974. In 1986, Goldwyn told the Los Angeles Times that his goal was to appeal to sophisticated movie lovers.

“I was brought up in a tradition of patience,” Goldwyn said. “My father never made films that were instantaneous hits. ‘Wuthering Heights’ was not a success the first time around. Neither was ‘Best Years of Our Lives.’ They had to be nursed .... Basically, he was always waiting.”

The Times will have a complete obituary later.

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