Dr. Jules Stein was a physician, philanthropist and creator of an entertainment empire.
An ophthalmologist by training, Stein left medicine to found and build the corporate colossus of show business known as MCA Inc.
Stein himself, who worked mainly behind the scenes, was barely known to the public at large except in his role as philanthropist.
Stein, a self-described schmaltzy violinist and saxophone player who worked his way through medical school playing in and leading bands in Chicago, founded Music Corp. of America in 1924. It was primarily a talent agency, originally booking bands throughout the Midwest.
As a talent agency, MCA once had exclusive contracts with more than 300 stars, including Shirley Temple, Bette Davis, Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando — and an actor named Ronald Reagan.
Diversifying into production and other fields, MCA eventually grew so large and powerful that entertainers complained that they could not get work unless they signed exclusive contracts with the giant firm.
In 1962, MCA was ordered by the Justice Department to divest itself of either its production role or its talent agency role. The company chose to stay in the production field.
Stein, who had moved up to chairman of MCA in 1946, retired in 1973 and was succeeded by Lew R. Wasserman.
|1975||Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award||Win|