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Carl Laemmle

Carl Laemmle (1867-1939) was one of the most important pioneers in American film making and a founder of Universal Studios.

Born to a Jewish family in present-day Germany, he immigrated to the United States in 1884 and changed his name from Karl Lämmle to Carl Laemmle. He worked in a variety of jobs in Chicago until he began buying film spaces. He eventually expanded into a film distribution company called the Laemmle Film Service. In 1906, he started one of the first motion picture theaters in Chicago. He challenged Thomas Edison's monopoly on film and advertised stars including Mary Pickford and Florence Lawrence. Laemmle moved to New York and formed Independent Moving Pictures. In 1912, he became president of the Universal Film Manufacturing Company (Universal Studios) which was incorporated by a group of film-related businesses. America's first motion picture industry was based in New Jersey before moving to California. Laemmle worked on over 400 films in his career.