NEO magazine - December 2021

Page 48

PHOTO: L.A. CICERO

by Ilias Chrissochoidis, Ph.D. In the long and distinguished history of Greek presence in America, no individual can match the breadth, depth, and duration of influence of Spyros P. Skouras (1893–1971), whose 50th death anniversary we commemorate this year. Arriving in the US in 1910, Spyros and his two brothers soon became leaders in the nascent motion picture industry, controlling the second largest chain of movie theaters in the country. Despite losing their assets in the 1929 crash, they quickly rebuilt their empire during the 1930s topping the ranks of America’s highest paid executives. After masterminding the merger of Fox and Twentieth Century film companies in 1935, Spyros was elected president of the corporation in 1942. During his twenty-year tenure, he oversaw Twentieth Century-Fox’s growth into the second largest film company in the world and was among the pillars of Hollywood’s golden age. As such, he was influencing a global audience of 250 million, an achievement no other Greek had attained since Alexander the Great!

The most influential Greek since t? Alexander the Grea A reappraisal of

Spyros P. Skouras

48

DECEMBER 2021 COVER STORY

Spyros Skouras and Archbishop Iakovos with President Kennedy

AMERICAN DREAM Spyros P. Skouras was born on March 28, 1893, in Skourohorion, a few miles outside Olympia, to a family of farmers and herders. Life in rural Greece was harsh and vulnerable to natural disasters. One such, in 1907, destroyed the family’s crops and forced them to take emergency measures. As his older brother, Konstantinos, sailed to America to find work, Spyros was sent to a local monastery until the age of thirteen and then to the port of Patras, where he worked as an office boy while studying English and accounting. It was there that he first saw a movie.


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