Longtime studio exec and producer Sam Wiesenthal, responsible with Carl Laemmle Jr. for bringing about Universal’s classic “All Quiet on the Western Front” as well as “Frankenstein” with Boris Karloff and “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi, died Feb. 11 at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 92.
The New York City native worked in the offices of Universal Pictures in Manhattan while still in high school. His accounting acumen was noticed by Carl Laemmle, who brought the teenage Wiesenthal to Hollywood shortly after he graduated from high school and worked in numerous departments at Universal alongside Carl Laemmle Jr.
Wiesenthal and Laemmle Jr. quickly became production manager and vice president, respectively, of Universal Pictures. Together, they helped generate “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930), which won the best picture Oscar that year, and Universal franchises such as “Frankenstein” starring Karloff and the Lugosi starrer “Dracula” (both 1931).
After Universal was sold in 1936, Wiesenthal moved on to various studio management positions including ones at Goldwyn and RKO.
A sampling of Wiesenthal’s independent productions included “Cry Danger,” starring Dick Powell and Rhonda Fleming; “Second Chance,” with Robert Mitchum; “Bengazi,” starring Richard Conte; and “The Kremlin Letter,” helmed by John Huston.
In 1935 Wiesenthal married Naomi Schwartz, who worked at the time as a publicist for Warner Bros. in New York. She died in 1999.
He is survived by a son, two daughters and six grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.