Vanity Fair, The Paramount Picture
From Kirk Douglas to Dakota Fanning, 116 Stars, Directors, and Suits, photographed on stage 18 at the Paramount Pictures Lot, in Hollywood, California© Art Streiber, Vanity Fair July 2012
This all-star photograph by Art Streiber celebrating the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures appeared in Vanity Fair. Paramount Pictures assembled 116 of the greatest talents ever to work at the studio. Aw, look: it’s those cute kids from Love Story top and center! Indiana Jones and Jack Dawson must be in here somewhere...
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the storied Paramount Pictures, the only studio to still call Hollywood (the L.A. neighborhood, not the state of mind) its home. Founded in 1912 as the Famous Players Film Company, it more than lived up to its billing, claiming silent greats such as Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, and Rudolph Valentino, not to mention Cecil B. DeMille, who made all his biblical epics for the studio. With the advent of talkies, and showing a special flair for sophisticated comedy, Paramount added another glittering array of stars to its roster, including Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Gary Cooper, the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, and writer-director Preston Sturges. In the postwar years, directors Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, William Wyler, and Jerry Lewis applied their craft at Paramount.
By the early 60s, like the other studios, Paramount was running out of steam, until wild man Charlie Bluhdorn bought it, in 1966, ushering in a new golden age under production chief Bob Evans, whose hits included Love Story, the first two Godfathers, and Chinatown. Next up was Barry Diller, who, with the help of Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, turned Paramount into the pre-eminent "high concept" blockbuster factory, releasing cash cows such as the Indiana Jones pictures and a string of hits starring fresh faces such as Tom Cruise and Eddie Murphy. Sumner Redstone's Viacom bought the studio in 1994. Under studio head Sherry Lansing, the company entered yet another new era, producing bigger and riskier hits such as Titanic, Braveheart, and Forrest Gump, all of which won best-picture Oscars. Brad Grey succeeded her in 2005, and he's doing O.K., too, having produced 8 out of Paramount's 10 top-grossing pictures of all time.