Nebraska Authors

Darryl F. Zanuck

Born 1902-09-05 Wahoo, NE (USA)

Died 1979-12-22
Palm Springs, CA (USA)

The famous movie producer was born in Wahoo, Nebraska, and moved to California with his mother at the age of 6. In his teens he was back in Oakdale, Nebraska, living with maternal grandparents. At about age 15, he lied about his birth date to enlist in the Nebraska National Guard's 6th Infantry. He is believed to have served in Mexico, France and possibly in Belgium. After leaving the Army he returned to California and worked at odd jobs, including writing for a pulp magazine, before landing a job writing movie scripts. He was promoted to producer in 1927, and in his first production "Jazz Singer"(1918) he added sound to what had been planned as a silent film, to create the first "talkie." It has been estimated that he produced some 200 films, and wrote or co-wrote some 60 films. He wrote scripts for Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, and introduced or helped develop many famous movie stars, including James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Henry Fonda, Betty Grable, and Marilyn Monroe.

Local historian Jim McKee wrote a column identifying Zanuck as one of the "Wahoo Five" which also included Dr. George Beadle, Dr. Howard Hanson, "Wahoo Sam" Crawford, and Clarence W. Anderson. Lincoln Journal-Star 11-25-2012.

Author Of

  • Play/Screenplay


Hollywood Film Producer; Screenwriter


Studio Head


Honorary Doctor of Humanities, University of Nebraska, 1956.
Virginia Zanuck Foundation established University of Nebraska scholarships for students from Wahoo in memory of Zanuck, 1984.


Filmography not listed.

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Darryl F. Zanuck

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