Sol Lesser

Sol Lesser ( born February 17, 1890 in Spokane, Washington, USA; † 19 September 1980 in Hollywood, California ) was an American film producer and film director.


Sol Lesser, who saw the light of day in a tent, moved at the age of six weeks with his parents to San Francisco, where he was a witness to the still famous earthquake of 1906 was the age of 16. His father, who ran a candy store, sold soon jukebox, a shop, in which Sol also boarding.

In 1913, he led, together with Hal Mohr for the first and only time in his life directed the short film Last Night of the Barbary Coast. This social study of an area of San Francisco, in which there was also play local saloons and brothels next, Lesser was announced overnight. With the money he earned from the receipts, he founded a small theater chain, and a private cinema.

Inspired by media mogul Mack Sennett went Lesser 1919 in production, and produced in 1922 with Oliver Twist his first full-length feature film. In the 1920s, Lesser served as a presenter and producer of some twisted black and white silent films until he producer of the post of Thunder over Mexico in 1931. The film, directed by Russians Sergei Eisenstein proved to be courageous step, as he rejected the prevailing anti-communism in the United States. This also explains why Lesser was in 1961 with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Oscar awarded.

In the 1930s as well as 1940s Lesser produced predominantly Western, and was nominated in 1941 for the film Our Town for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It acted he founded in the late 1930s Principal Pictures Corp. as a production company.

1943 Lesser acquired the rights to Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and produced in the coming years, all still well-known movies in which Johnny Weissmuller and Lex Barker embody the title character.

1958 Lesser drew surprisingly returned to private life in order to devote himself to his family. With his wife, Fay Grunau, he had two children, daughter Marjorie and son Julian Lesser, who followed in the footsteps of his father, and produced several films, at least in the 1950s.

Sol Lesser died at the age of 90 of natural causes. He dedicated a star on the Walk of Fame.

Filmography (selection)