On This Day in 1971: Film pioneer, Spyros Skouras, passed away
One of the most important figures in the film industry died on this day back in 1971 due to a fatal heart attack.
Spyros Skouras, a man that played a key role in some of Hollywood’s most important movies but also helped alter the course of the industry through his many contributions, innovations and hard work, was born and raised in Greece before moving to the United States in the early years of the 20th century.
Here are the five most important things you need to know about the legendary film executive:
- He was born in Skourochori of Pyrgos and he had two brothers, Karolos (Charles) and Giorgos (George) with whom he migrated together to the city of Saint Louis in Missouri.
- Skouras served as president of the well-known film studio 20th Century Fox for two decades. In fact, he was the one behind the creation of the company when he pushed forward the merger of Fox Studios with 20th Century Pictures.
- He helped launch the career of many aspiring actors and actresses. Most notable among them was a young Norma Jean Baker, who would eventually change her stage name to Merilyn Monroe. She was known to affectionately call him “Papa Skouras.”
- Skouras was the mind behind the creation and introduction of CinemaScope to movie theaters, a move which brought back audiences to the cinemas and helped secure the future of the industry for at least the next few decades. Via CinemaScope, movie-makers could use a wide-angle lens to capture the scenes of their films, which in turn could only be shown inside a movie theater.
- Some of the most notable films to be made under his supervision are Cleopatra, The Seven-Year Itch, The King and I and The Robe.
Sources: Wikipedia and Stanford./