Jack L. Warner (1892 - 1978)
- movie executive, producer
- born August 2, 1892, London, Ontario
- the youngest of 12 children of Jewish immigrants from Poland
- family moved about the US and Canada until its head, a pedlar, decided to settle finally in Youngstown, Ohio, where he opened a cobbler's shop, a butchery, and then a bicycle shop
- in 1903 the family gambled its meager resources on the acquisition of a nickelodeon in Newcastle, Pennsylvania
- Jack entertained the audience during intermission by singing
- in 1905 four of the Warner brothersHarry (1881-1958), Albert (1884-1967), Sam (1888-1927), and Jackventured into film distribution, but they were soon forced to sell out to the Patents Company. They returned briefly to exhibition and in 1912 took their first stab at production with a series of not-too-successful shorts.
- their first success was with My Four Years in Germany (1917) and they went on to establish one of Hollywood's major studios, at Burbank, which they named simply Warner Bros.
- Harry, the business brains of the family, became the company's president, Sam the chief executive, Albert the treasurer, and Jack the production chief
- in 1925 they acquired Vitagraph and its network of exchanges and First National Pictures, and began a systematic acquisition of motion picture theaters.
- in 1927 they launched the sound era with The Jazz Singer
- Jack ran the studio with a firm and frugal hand and often clashed with his producers, writers, and stars, most famously with Bette Davis, Olivia De Havilland, Humphrey Bogart, and James Cagney
A frustrated vaudevillian, he spiced his quarrels with a robust sense of humor and practical jokes.
- also famous for his hawkish political views and occasional tactless cracks. (Once, when he was introduced to Mme. Chiang Kai-chek, he muttered that he had forgotten his laundry.)
- during WWII he was commissioned a major with the Army Signal Corps and later was elevated in rank to colonel
- in 1956, Harry and Albert Warner sold most of their shares in the company, but Jack stayed on as studio boss and largest single stockholder. In 1967 he sold his interest in Warner Bros. to Seven Arts and became an independent producer
- David Niven: "He was a generous host, a big gambler at work and at play , and with superb confidence he put his money where his mouth was."
- Simone Signoret: "He bore no grudge against those he had wronged."
- Al Jolson: "I can't see what J. W. can do with an Oscar. It can't say yes."
- Jack Warner Jr.: "He existed behind a self-made wall. Besides a lot of him wasn't that nice to know. At times he gloried in being a no-good sonofabitch."
- Jack Warner Jr.: "If his brothers hadn't hired him, he'd have been out of work."
- Jack Benny: "A man who would rather tell a bad joke than make a good movie."
- to Einstein: "I have a theory of relatives too. Don't hire 'em."
- in retirement in Palm Springs: "You're nothing if you don't have a studio. Now I'm just another millionaire, and there are a lot of 'em around."
- autobiography: My First Hundred Years in Hollywood (1965)
- biography: Clown prince of Hollywood : the antic life and times of Jack L. Warner (1990) by Bob Thomas
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