Saul Zaentz was a media entrepreneur in the music and film industry. He built the largest independent Jazz record label in the world, Fantasy Records and, through the Saul Zaentz Company, became a prominent independent film producer. His creative activities in film resulted in 34 Academy Award nominations, the award of 22 Hollywood Oscars for those involved in the film making process (including three for “Best Picture”). Among other films, his major works included One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, The English Patient and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
The British Academy of Film and Television awarded Mr. Zaentz the Academy Fellowship, the highest honor awarded by the Academy to individuals for their achievement. He also earned the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg memorial award for his “Consistently High Quality of Motion Picture Production”.
What distinguished Saul Zaentz in the entertainment industry was his bold action in selecting artists and projects and his willingness to take substantial risks in advancing his productions.
Fantasy Records was acquired by the Concord Music Group in 2004, and the Saul Zaentz Company continues to administer a large body of film related copyrighted materials including the non-literary rights to the Tolkien series, Lord of the Rings. Mr. Zaentz died in 2014.
An article on Mr. Zaentz, written by Peter Bart, appeared in Deadline on July 14, 2022. Click here to read the piece.