Brown - Dark
Place of Death
Grants, New Mexico
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Around the World in 80 Days
Profile Bio Text
Michael "Mike" Todd (June 22, 1909 – March 22, 1958) was an American theatre and film producer, best known for his 1956 production of Around the World in 80 Days, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. He is also well known as the third of Elizabeth Taylor's seven husbands and is the only one whom she did not divorce. He was co-developer of the eponymous Todd-AO widescreen film format.
Todd was born Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Chaim Goldbogen (an Orthodox rabbi) and Sophia Hellerman, both Polish Jewish immigrants. He was one of nine children in a poor family, the youngest son, and his siblings nicknamed him "Toat" to mimic his difficulty pronouncing the word "coat." It was from this that his name was derived.
The family later moved to Chicago, arriving on the day World War I ended. Todd was expelled in the sixth grade for running a game of craps inside the school. In high school, he produced the school play, The Mikado, which was considered a hit. He eventually dropped out of high school and worked at a variety of jobs, including shoe salesman and store window decorator. One of his first jobs was as a soda jerk. When the drugstore went out of business, Todd had acquired enough medical knowledge from his work there to be hired at Chicago's Michael Reese Hospital as a type of "security guard" to stop visitors from bringing in food that was not on the patient's diet.
Todd began his career in the construction business, where he made, and subsequently lost, a fortune. He opened the College of Bricklaying of America, buying the materials to teach bricklaying on credit. The school was forced to close when the Bricklayers' Union did not view the college as an accepted place of study. Todd and his brother, Frank, next opened their own construction company. Their company was worth over a million dollars but came to an abrupt halt when its financial backing failed in the wake of the Great Depression. Not yet twenty-one, Todd had lost over a million dollars with the loss of his backer. He was now the father of an infant son and had no home for his family.
He later served as a contractor to Hollywood studios, and during the 1933-1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago he produced an attraction called the "Flame Dance." In this number, gas jets were designed to burn part of a dancer's costume off, leaving her naked in appearance. The act attracted enough attention to bring an offer from the Casino de Paris nightclub in New York City.
Todd got his first taste of Broadway with the engagement and was determined to find a way to work there. After seeing the Federal Theatre Project's Chicago run of The Swing Mikado, an adaptation of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Mikado with an all African-American cast conceived by Harry Minturn, Todd decided to do his own version on Broadway, The Hot Mikado, despite protests by the FTP. The Hot Mikado, starring Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, opened on Broadway March 23, 1939. The subsequent success of Todd's production, at the expense of the Chicago production, contributed to the financial crisis and ultimate demise of the Federal Theatre Project unit in Chicago.
Todd's Broadway success gave him the nerve to try taking on showman Billy Rose. Todd visited Grover Whalen, president of the 1939 New York World's Fair, with a proposal to bring the Broadway show to the Fair. Whelan, eager to have the show at the fair, covered Todd's Broadway early closing costs. Rose, who had an exclusivity clause in his fair contract, met Todd at Lindy's, where Rose learned his contract covered new forms of entertainment only. To avoid any head-to head competition, Rose quickly agreed to promote Todd's production along with his own. Todd went on to produce thirty Broadway shows during his career.
Todd's business career was volatile, and failed ventures left him bankrupt many times.
In 1945, Todd floated the idea of holding the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in newly liberated Berlin. Although baseball's new commissioner Happy Chandler was reportedly "intrigued" by the idea, it was ultimately dismissed as impractical. The game was finally cancelled due to wartime travel restrictions.
In 1952, Todd made a production of the Johann Strauss II operetta A Night in Venice, complete with floating gondolas at the then-newly constructed Jones Beach Theatre in Long Island, New York. It ran for two seasons.
In 1950, Mike Todd formed Cinerama with the broadcaster Lowell Thomas (who founded Capital Cities Communications) and the inventor Fred Waller. The company was created to exploit Cinerama, a widescreen film process created by Waller that used three film projectors to create a giant composite image on a curved screen. The first Cinerama f
Full Name at Birth
Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen
Producer, Other Crew
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Count - Awards
Michael "Mike" Todd (June 22, 1909 – March 22, 1958) was an American theater and film producer, best known for his 1956 production of Around the World in 80 Days, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. He is known as the third of Elizabeth Taylor's seven husbands and is the only one whom she did not divorce. He was the driving force behind the development of the eponymous Todd-AO widescreen film format.
Couple Profile Source
Posted by brian 1 year ago
what a hot band. love all their music
Posted by Joe 1 year ago
Would love to meet you before I die,
Posted by greg fischer 1 year ago
We are unable to find our family pictures. We would like to order our pictu...
Posted by Michael Wren 1 year ago
You can find the statue proposal on Kickstarter dot com