As confirmed by The New York Times, influential independent film producer Saumel Goldwyn died on Friday of congestive heart failure. He was 88.
Though he was the son of legendary film mogul Samuel Goldwyn—co-founder of Goldwyn Pictures, which eventually became the “Goldwyn” of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer—Samuel Jr. wasn’t content to work in his father’s shadow. Instead, he ventured out on his own and, in 1979, he founded the Samuel Goldwyn Co., a pioneering independent film studio that laid the groundwork for modern indie labels like Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics. As a producer, Goldwyn was known for supporting a number of up-and-coming directors long before they became the big-names they are now, including Ang Lee and Kenneth Branagh. The New York Times also credits him with giving Julia Roberts “her big break,” thanks to his support of 1988’s Mystic Pizza.
In 2004, Goldwyn received a best-picture Oscar nomination for Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World. His final producing credit was for the 2013 Ben Stiller vehicle The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Perhaps fittingly, the film is the second adaptation of a 1939 short story of the same name, with the original—released in 1947—having been produced by Goldwyn’s father. Goldwyn is survived by his wife and six children, including producer John Goldwyn and Scandal‘s Tony Goldwyn.