Saul Zaentz was born on the 28th February 1921, in Passaic, New Jersey USA, of part Jewish ancestry, and was a film producer who is best known for being a three-time Academy Award winner, and for his work on “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “Amadeus” (1984), “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1988) as well as on “The English Patient” (1996). He passed away in 2014.
Have you ever wondered how much wealth this veteran of the moviemaking industry accumulated for life? How rich would Saul Zaentz be today? According to sources, it is estimated that the total of Saul Zaentz’s net worth, as of early 2017, would be over $30 million, gathered through his career as a film producer which was active between 1975 and 2006.
Saul Zaentz Net Worth $30 million
After attending William B. Cruz Memorial School No. 11 in his home town, Saul joined the US Army in their World War II operations. Upon finishing his military service, he enrolled at Rutgers University. Later he discovered his interest in music, and began working for Norman Ganz, a chairman of a record company and creator of Jazz at the Philharmonic programs. In 1955 Zaentz associated with Fantasy Records and in 1967 he became one of its co-owners and soon after provided a record contract for rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. These engagements provided the basis for Saul Zaentz’s net worth.
In the early 1970 he became interested in producing motion pictures after seeing the stage play adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. This led him to eventually co-producing the eponymous 1975 Miloš Forman’s movie adaptation which featured Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher in the leading roles. For this involvement, Zaentz was rewarded with an Oscar for Best Picture.
In 1977, Zaentz produced Keith Merrill’s western drama “Three Warriors”, before producing an eponymous animated adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy “The Lord of The Rings” in 1978. In 1980, Saul founded his own production company – The Saul Zaentz Film Center (later rebranded to The Saul Zaentz Company). As an avid reader, he preferred producing and adapting novels into movies, rather than original scripts and screenplays. In 1984, he collaborated with Forman again and produced “Amadeus”, a biographical drama about one of the most influential composers of the Classical era – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This engagement, apart from earning him another Academy Award for Best Picture, also dramatically increased the size of Saul Zaentz’s wealth.
In the course of the next decade, Zaentz produced several more motion pictures, all based on novels including, apart from those already mentioned above, “The Mosquito Coast” (1986) and “At Play in the Fields of the Lord” (1991). In 1996, Saul won his third Oscar for Best Picture for producing the romantic war drama “The English Patient” starring Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe and Juliette Binoche in the leading roles. Zaentz’s last work, and an exception from his “rule”, was another Forman motion picture, the 2006 biographical drama about the famous Spanish painter Francisco Goya named “Goya’s Ghosts”. Doubtlessly, all these achievements left a positive impact on the total amount of Saul Zaentz’s net worth.
When it comes to his personal life, Saul Zaentz was married twice. Between 1960 and 1975 he was married to Charlie Mingus’ ex- wife Celia, with whom Saul had four children. He later married Lynda Redfield, but that marriage also ended with divorce several years later. He passed away at the age of 92, on the 3rd January 2014, in San Francisco, California, due to complications caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Apart from his career in the moviemaking industry, Saul Zaentz was regularly active in various charity causes, including his own The Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation which he created in 1997.