Adolph Zukor Biography

Adolph Zukor was a Hungarian Jewish born American Director & Producer. Read on to know more about Adolph Zukor’s profile, childhood, life and timeline in this biography.

Adolph Zukor

Quick Facts

Gender: Male
Birthday: 07 January 1873
Died: 10 June 1976
Nationality: Austrian
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Awards: Academy Honorary Award

Adolph Zukor was of Hungarian Jewish origin and the founder of Paramount Pictures. He was a key figure in the development of the motion picture industry. He became a producer and created the Famous Players – Lasky which was considered to be one of the biggest film companies of 1920s.

Early Life & Career

Adolph Zukor was born in Ricse, Hungary (then a part of Austro - Hungarian empire) who at the age of 16, in 1889 emigrated to US. As soon as he landed in New York, Zukor took up several jobs to earn for a living. He stayed with his family and began his works in an upholstery shop. After a while, he also took up the job of an apprentice at a furrier with the help of his friend and worked at the same place for two years. Later, he left the place and became a contract worker, sewing pieces of fur and selling them himself. By this time, he was nineteen and had already become an accomplished designer. He was passionate and adventurous and it was also the time during the 1893 Columbian Exposition when Columbus discovered America. He went there and started a fur business and his business expanded to comprise about 25 men and he could easily open a new branch. In 1903, Zukor entered the motion picture industry when his cousin, Goldstein asked for a loan. He not only gave the money, but also insisted on becoming a partner with Marcus Loew so as to open other similar theatres. By 1912, Adolf Zukor came up with the ‘Famous Players Film Company’ and the following year received the required financial support of the Frohman brothers.
Later, in 1918, Zukor returned back to New York, in Rockland County and purchased three hundred acres of land from the heir of the A&S Departmental Stores, Lawrence Abraham. After two years, Zukor bought extra five hundred acres to build a movie theatre, guest house, night house, locker room, garages and also assigned an architect to build a eighteen hole golf course. Today, this estate is known as ‘Paramount Country Club’ which is a private country club. The main aim of the New York theatre impresaios was to bring all the leading actors onto the screen and so Zukor produced ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ (1913). Also, he bought an armoury which was on the 26th Street in Manhattan and later converted it into Chelsea Studios. He was also the member of the theatrical social group, The Lamb.
This studio developed into the ‘Famous Players-Lasky’ and then to the Paramount Pictures, of which Zukor served as the President until 1936 and later promoted as the chairman of the board. Zukor was able to organize production, distribution and exhibition very well and later Zukor became a director and a producer. In 1959, he retired from the Paramount Pictures and hence assumed the position as the Chairman Emeritus, and held the same until his death. Adolph Zukor passed away at the age of 103 in Los Angeles.

Famous Associations

Zukor was closely associated with Edwin. S. Porter who was a talented and experienced screen director. They made feature-length film, Queen Elizabeth in the Manhattan studio and established ‘Famous Players Film Company’. The first American film of the Company was ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’. Adolf Zukor was considered ‘the father of feature film’ in America and also worked with one of the famous stage actress, Mary Pickford. Famous Players later merged with the Play Company, Jesse L. Lasky and formed ‘Famous Players - Lasky Corporation’. Zukor became its President with Lasky, the Vice President.

Personal Life

Adolf Zukor got married at the age of twenty four after he began gaining profits from the fur industry. The couple had a son and a daughter and his wife passed away in 1956.


1873: 7 January, Adolph Zukor was born
1889: Emigrated to US
1892: Was an accomplished designer
1903: Entered the motion picture industry
1918: Returned back to New York, in Rockland County
1936: Zukor served as the President of Paramount Pictures
1959: retired from the Paramount Pictures
1976: 10 June, Zukor passed away

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Adolph Zukor Biography

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Last Updated

May 28, 2019

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