Producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. Dies at 88

The indie movie mogul who was credited with giving Julia Roberts her first major role passed away over the weekend due to heart failure.

AceShowbiz - Film producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. passed away Friday, January 9 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He died from congestive heart failure at the age of 88, his son Peter Goldwyn revealed to Los Angeles Times.

Goldwyn Jr. is the son of Hollywood icon Samuel Goldwyn and actress Frances Howard. His father is one of the founders of Paramount Studios and production company MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). Goldwyn Jr. himself thrived as an indie movie producer after serving in the US Army in World War II.

Among his low-budget hits were the 1988 comedy-drama "Mystic Pizza", which gave Julia Roberts her big break in the industry. His movie "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2004. His final production credit was for Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", a remake of one of his father's films.

"The independent film business really began with Sam in the late 70s," Tom Rothman, head of Sony's TriStar pictures, told Deadline. "People forget how many filmmakers broke through because of him. There was Kenneth Branagh, Anthony Minghella, Ang Lee, David Lynch and John Sayles. Sam was a dose of class in a rough and tumble business."

The family legacy continues with Goldwyn Jr.'s son John serving as vice chairman of Paramount Pictures and another son Tony Goldwyn working in front of camera and currently starring on the ABC hit drama series "Scandal".

In addition to Peter, John, and Tony, Goldwyn Jr. is survived by another son Francis; two daughters Catherine and Elizabeth; and his third wife Patricia Strawn.

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