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Koster, Henry, 1905-1988



  • Existence: 1905 - 1988


Henry Koster (1905-1988) was a German-born Hollywood filmmaker active between 1925 and 1966.

Born Hermann Kosterlitz in Germany to a German-Jewish family, Koster was left to provide for his family at a young age after his father left and worked at as a short story writer, which led him to begin a career as a scenarist. In 1932, he directed his first picture but due to rising anti-Semitism in Hitler’s Germany he fled soon after. He went to France and then to Budapest where he married his first wife Kató Király in 1934. There he also met the producer Joe Pasternak, who represented Universal Pictures in Europe and led to Koster’s eventual immigration to the United States and to Hollywood where he found success directing musicals with Deanna Durbin. In 1942 he married actress Peggy Moran. In 1948, he moved on to 20th Century Fox where he made two of the biggest hits of his career: Harvey (1950), a comedy starring James Stewart, and The Robe (1953), a biblical epic that was the first film shot on CinemaScope. In 1966, following 30 years of filmmaking, Koster retired from the Motion Picture Industry. He died in 1988 of liver cancer at 83 years old. He left behind his wife and three children.

Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

Henry Koster annotated scripts, approximately 1936-1966

Identifier: MSS 8834 Series 1
Scope and Contents

Includes scripts directed by Henry Koster between 1936-1966. Most are final drafts of shooting scripts, many of which are his personal copies. Some annotated. Many contain black and white 8x10 production stills. Creation date of materials range from approximately 1936-1966.

Dates: approximately 1936-1966

Henry Koster film collection, approximately 1936-1949

Identifier: MSS 8834 Series 3
Scope and Contents

Comprises of seven 16mm films belonging to Koster, including six of his own movies as well as The Mummy’s Hand, the most famous film starring Koster’s wife Peggy Moran. Condition of the prints are fair to poor with some scratching and splices at heads and tails of reels. Creation dates of materials range from 1936-1949.

Dates: Majority of material found within approximately 1936-1949

Henry Koster scrapbooks, approximately 1939-1957

Identifier: MSS 8834 Series 2
Scope and Contents

Scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings pertaining to Henry Koster's life and career. Several film releases are spotlighted, including the release of The Robe and No Highway. Also spotlighted are his travels to England with his Wife. All scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings from various news outlets in which Koster is expressely mentioned. A few newspaper clippings are in German. Creation dates for materials range from approximately 1939-1957.

Dates: approximately 1939-1957

Koster, Henry, 1961

 File — Box 147: Series 2, Folder: 20
Identifier: MSS P 768 Series 2 File 373

Henry Koster papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8834

Annotated scripts, scrapbooks, and 16mm film reels.

Dates: approximately 1936-1966