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Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen was an American theater and film producer who was professionally known as Mike Todd. He was well recognized for his 1956 production of Around the World in “80 Days”, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. He made a fortune in construction before the Great Depression and lost everything in the crash, all before turning 21. Todd’s first production was inspired by a performance of “The Swing Mikado”, which he saw with an all-black cast. He previously worked at a variety of jobs, including shoe salesman and store window decorator whereas one of his first jobs was as a soda jerk. He played an instrumental role in technical innovation in the film industry during the 1950s as well as he formed the Cinerama Company with Lowell Thomas and Fred Waller, to put to use the widescreen film process called Cinerama invented by Waller. Mike later left Cinerama Company and developed the widescreen, 70 mm film format called Todd-AO along with American Optical Company. Sadly we lost such an awesome man on 22nd March 1958 at the age of 48.
Mike Todd Death
Mike Todd’s private plane the Liz crashed near Grants, New Mexico on 22nd March 1958. The plane, a twin-engine Lockheed Lodestar, suffered engine failure while being flown overloaded in icing conditions at an altitude that was too high for only one engine working under the heavy load. The plane went out of control and crashed, killing all four onboard. Five days before the crash, Todd flew on this plane to Albuquerque, 78 miles (126 km) east of the crash site, to promote a screening of “Michael Todd’s Around the World in 80 Days”. Mike was on his way to New York to accept the New York Friars Club “Showman of the Year” award.
In addition to Todd, those who died in the crash were screenwriter and author Art Cohn, who was writing Todd’s biography “The Nine Lives of Michael Todd”. Just hours before the crash, Todd described the plane as safe as he phoned friends. His son, Mike Jr., wanted his father’s body to be cremated after it was identified through dental records and brought to Albuquerque, New Mexico, but Taylor refused, saying he would not want cremation. In June 1977, Todd’s remains were desecrated by graverobbers. The thieves broke into his casket looking for a $100,000 diamond ring, which, according to rumor, Taylor had placed on her husband’s finger prior to his burial.
- Being an American theater and film producer.
- For his 1956 production of Around the World in “80 Days”.
Where was Mike Todd From?
Mike Todd took birth on 22nd June 1909 with the real name of Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. He was American by nationality and mixed by ethnicity. Likewise, his religion was Christian and his race was white. Mike lastly celebrated his 48th birthday in 1958 and as per his birthdate, his star sign was Cancer. He was the son of his father, Chaim Goldbogen (an Orthodox rabbi), and his mother, Sophia Hellerman, both of whom were Polish Jewish immigrants. He was one of nine children in a poor family, the youngest son, and his siblings nicknamed him “Tod” (pronounced “Toat” in German) to mimic his difficulty pronouncing the word “coat.” It was from this that his name was derived.
Mike Todd Career Timeline
- Mike Todd jumped off his career in the construction business, where he made, and subsequently lost, a fortune whereas his first flirtation with the film industry was when he served as a contractor to Hollywood studios.
- He produced an attraction called the “Flame Dance” during the 1933-1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago and he got his first taste of Broadway with the engagement and was determined to find a way to work there.
- Then he decided to do his own version on Broadway, “The Hot Mikado” which was opened on Broadway 23rd March 1939.
- As well, he produced 17 Broadway shows during his career, including the immensely successful burlesque revue “Star and Garter” starring comedian Bobby Clark, “The Naked Genius” written by and starring stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, and a 1945 production of “Hamlet” starring Maurice Evans.
- He floated the idea of holding the 1945 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in newly liberated Berlin as well as he made a production of the Johann Strauss II operetta “A Night in Venice” in 1952.
- Todd formed Cinerama with the broadcaster Lowell Thomas and the inventor Fred Waller in 1950 whereas the first Cinerama feature, “This is Cinerama”, was released in September 1952.
- Later he left the Cinerama Company to develop a widescreen process that would eliminate some of Cinerama’s flaws.
- He soon produced the film for which he was best remembered, “Michael Todd’s Around the World in 80 Days”, which debuted in cinemas on 17th October 1956.
- Furthermore, a William Woolfolk novel from the early 1960s, entitled “My Name Is Morgan”, was considered to be loosely based on Todd’s life and career.
Selected Broadway Productions
- Call Me Ziggy (Play, Farce, 1937)
- The Hot Mikado (Musical, Operetta, 1939)
- Something for the Boys (Musical, Comedy, 1943)
- Mexican Hayride (Musical, Comedy,1944)
- Up in Central Park (Musical, Comedy, 1945)
- As the Girls Go (Musical, Comedy, 1948)
Who was Mike Todd Wife?
Mike Todd was a married man. He married Bertha Freshman in Crown Point, Indiana, on Valentine’s Day 1927 at the age of 17. The pair was blessed with a son, Mike Todd, Jr., who was born in 1929. His wife, Bertha, died of a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) on 12th August 1946, in Santa Monica, California, while undergoing surgery at St. John’s Hospital for a damaged tendon in her finger. Todd and his wife were separated at the time of her death; less than a week before Freshman’s death, he had filed for divorce. Then Mike tied the knot with actress Joan Blondell on 5th July 1947 however they divorced on 8th June 1950, after Blondell filed for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty. His third marriage was to the actress Elizabeth Taylor, with whom he had a tempestuous relationship. The couple exchanged vows on 2nd February 1957, in Mexico, in a ceremony performed by the mayor of Acapulco. It was the third marriage for both the 24-year-old bride and her 47-year-old groom. Todd and Taylor had a daughter, Elizabeth Frances (Liza) Todd, born on 6th August 1957. Concerning Todd’s sexual orientation, he was straight.
How much was Mike Todd Net Worth?
Mike Todd was a versatile guy who had a net worth of $5 million till the time of his death whereas his exact amount of salary had not been revealed yet. Mike had earned a considerable amount of money from his profession as his major source of income was from his theater and film producer career.
What was the Mike Todd Body Build Type?
Mike Todd was 5 feet and 5 inches tall and his body build type was average. He had black hair and dark brown eyes color.
Source: Gossip Gist