Ernst Goldschmidt, member of the founding team of Orion Pictures and an international film executive, died Dec. 2 from heart failure in Badenweller, Germany. He was 92.
Born and raised in Badenweller, Goldschmidt started his career in entertainment working across Europe. He began as a salesman at MGM in Zurich before moving on to become general manager of the United Artists (UA) Swiss office. After spearheading operations in Germany, Goldschmidt was promoted to the position of European Sales Manager in Paris and later, President of UA Europe.
In 1975, Goldschmidt made his foray into the United States after UA relocated him to New York. It was the prime place to showcase Goldschmidt’s knowledge of the global market. For over 22 years, Goldschmidt led international distribution efforts for the James Bond franchise, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the Beatles movies, “Rocky,” “Annie Hall” and “The Graduate.” He departed after four years with other members of the UA senior management group to form Orion Pictures, now co-owned by Amazon MGM Studios.
Goldschmidt served as the chairman of international at Orion Pictures, releasing “Amadeus,” “The Terminator” and more Woody Allen films. During his time at the company, Orion Pictures’ films won four best picture Academy Awards. In 1988, Goldschmidt left Orion to start his own production and distribution company, Sovereign Pictures. With Sovereign, Goldschmidt contributed to the release of films such as “Cinema Paradiso,” “Hamlet” and “Reversal of Fortune.” Goldschmidt eventually returned to Paris as president of international at Pandora Cinema, continuing his prolific work in overseeing worldwide distribution.
Goldschmidt is survived by his wife, Marie Therese; his first wife Renee and their two children, Patrick and Deborah; and several grandchildren.