Darryl F. Zanuck (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As the head of production at two major Hollywood studios, Zanuck was the youngest, fiercest, and most flamboyant of the tycoons who controlled the American film industry.
Darryl F. Zanuck was born September 5, 1902, in Wahoo, Nebraska, a town of two thousand inhabitants, thirty-five miles west of Omaha. His mother, Louise, was the daughter of Henry Torpin, the owner of Wahoo’s only hotel, and was a descendant of the legendary English outlaw Dick Turpin. His father, Frank Zanuck, a former Iowa farm boy of Swiss heritage, worked as a night clerk in the Wahoo hotel.
Zanuck’s father had a problem with gambling and alcoholism, which drove Louise away from him. She moved to the area around Los Angeles, where she remarried. At that time she invited her seven-year-old son to join her. Zanuck alternated living with his mother and stepfather (with whom he did not get along) in California and with his grandparents in Nebraska until he was able to pass the army physical examination. He passed on September 4, 1916, one day before his fourteenth birthday, having lied about his age.
Zanuck’s career in the army lasted two years. He was shipped overseas after the United States entered World War I. Zanuck was sent to the front lines but was saved from actual combat by the armistice. He returned to Nebraska, but he stayed only a few days. Zanuck wanted to be a writer and thought...
(The entire section is 2041 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!