Robert Arthur (film producer)

Robert Arthur (November 1, 1909 – October 28, 1986)[1] was an American screenwriter and producer best known for his long association with Universal Studios.[2]

Robert Arthur
Born
Robert Arthur Feder

(1909-11-01)November 1, 1909
DiedOctober 28, 1986(1986-10-28) (aged 76)
Occupation
  • Screenwriter
  • producer
Years active1937–1981
Spouse(s)
Goldie Appleby
(m. 1939⁠–⁠1986)

Early Life and CareerEdit

Born in New York as Robert Arthur Feder, he attended Southwestern University[1] and the University of Southern California before going to work in the oil industry in 1929.[1][3][4]

He began working as a screenwriter and joined MGM in 1937, where he wrote the screenplay for New Moon (1940) and the story for Chip Off the Old Block (1944).[1]

During World War II, he served under Pare Lorentz in the Army's Air Transport Command and produced 600 short training films.[1]

UniversalEdit

After the war, he joined Universal Pictures[3] and his first production was the successful Buck Privates Come Home (1947) starring Abbott and Costello.[1][4] He produced five further films for Abbott and Costello - The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap (1947), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Mexican Hayride (1948), Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) and Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950).[1]

He produced the first of the popular Francis the Talking Mule film series in 1950[3] as well as the last, Francis in the Haunted House (1956). He also wrote the story for Francis Goes to the Races.[5]

Arthur produced Louisa (1950) which starred Ronald Regan who became a good friend. In 1965 Arthur said this was his favorite movie.[6]

He left Universal and made Starlift (1951) and The Story of Will Rogers (1952) for Warner Bros. and The Big Heat (1953) and The Long Gray Line for Columbia Pictures before returning back to Universal.[1]

In 1955 MGM offered Arthur a contract but he preferred to work at Universal. He later said "they decided to hire me for as long as I care to work for. I'll tell you why I like this studio.When I turn out a clinker my bosses say 'We made a flop.' Turn out a good one and they say 'You made a hell of a picture.'"[6]

He signed Stanley Shapiro who wrote several commercially successful comedies for Arthur including The Perfect Furlough (1958), Operation Petticoat (1959), Lover Come Back (1961) and That Touch of Mink (1962).[1] The first two films were directed by Blake Edwards which helped launch his career.[7] He also produced Bobby Darrin's debut film Come September (1961).[4] During this time he also produced The Spiral Road.[8]

In 1965, he signed a "lifetime" contract with Universal.[7] At that time, 5 of Universal's top 10 highest-grossing films had been produced by Arthur - Operation Petticoat, That Touch of Mink, Come September, Lover Come Back and Shenandoah (1965).[7] A Man Could Get Killed (1966) was his 50th production.[7]

His last film as producer was One More Train to Rob (1971) with George Peppard.[9]

Arthur died in 1986 at the age of seventy-six and was interred in Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.[4] Lew Wasserman said Arthur as ""a true professional, a fine man and good friend. His associates at Universal will miss his talents and his warmth."[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Arthur was married to Goldie Appleby, who served as an executive secretary to Irving Thalberg at MGM and to Samuel Goldwyn during World War II. They were married for forty-seven years, until his death. Goldie Arthur died on December 24, 1998 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, following a stroke.[11][12]

FilmographyEdit

(producer unless otherwise specified)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Obituaries: Robert Arthur". Variety. November 5, 1986. p. 102.
  2. ^ "Robert Arthur". British Film Institute.
  3. ^ a b c "Robert Arthur - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie".
  4. ^ a b c d "Producer Robert Arthur dies at age 76". United Press International. October 28, 1986.
  5. ^ "Robert Arthur". American Film Institute. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  6. ^ a b No Bread Lines for Robert Arthur Los Angeles Times 1 Oct 1965: D11.
  7. ^ a b c d "Robert Arthur Is 'Forever'; 'Lifetime' Tie To U". Variety. October 6, 1965. p. 17.
  8. ^ PRE-FILMING DAYS WORRY PRODUCER: Last-Month Decisions Vital, in Robert Arthur's View By MURRAY SCHUMACH Special to The New York Times 13 June 1961: 29.
  9. ^ MOVIE CALL SHEET: McLaglen to Direct 'Hark' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 16 Jan 1970: c12.
  10. ^ Robert Arthur; Films Were Big at Box Office: [Home Edition] Folkart, Burt A. Los Angeles Times 30 Oct 1986: 2.
  11. ^ Variety Staff (January 15, 1999). "Goldie Arthur".
  12. ^ Film producer Robert Arthur Chicago Tribune 30 Oct 1986: D11.

External linksEdit