Polish-American movie producer Samuel Goldwyn (1879-1974) was known for his malapropisms, or “Goldwynisms.” Syndicated newspaper columnist Walter Winchell wrote in June 1940:
“Samuel Goldwyn’s latest as reported by Meyer Davis: “We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.’”
Meyer Davis (1893-1976) was an orchestra leader, actor and producer. It cannot be known for certain if the story is true.
Entertainment columnist Earl Wilson, in his book The Show Business Nobody Knows (1971), said, “He (Goldwyn—ed.) certainly said of Fredric March, ‘I’m overpaying him, but he’s worth it.’” Fredric March (1897-1975) was a highly respected actor who won Academy Awards for best actor in 1932 and 1947. According to a 1947 account (below), however, Goldwyn made the remark about an ace director.
Wikipedia: Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn (born Szmuel Gelbfisz (Yiddish: שמואל גלבפֿיש); August 17 1879 – January 31, 1974), also known as Samuel Goldfish, was a Jewish Polish American film producer. He was most well known for being the founding contributor and executive of several motion picture studios in Hollywood. His awards include the 1973 Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1947, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1958.
Samuel Goldwyn was also known for malapropisms, paradoxes, and other speech errors called ‘Goldwynisms’ ("A humorous statement or phrase resulting from the use of incongruous or contradictory words, situations, idioms, etc.") being frequently quoted. For example, he was reported to have said, “I don’t think anybody should write his autobiography until after he’s dead.” and “Include me out.”
IMDb.com (The Internet Movie Database)
[on Fredric March] I’m overpaying him, but he’s worth it.
Wikipedia: Fredric March
Fredric March (born Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel; August 31, 1897 – April 14, 1975) was a “distinguished stage actor and one of Hollywood’s most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and 40s.” He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and in 1947 for The Best Years of Our Lives. March is the only actor to have won both the Academy Award and the Tony Award twice.
March resisted signing long-term contracts with the studios, enabling him to play roles in films from a variety of studios.
18 June 1940, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “On Broadway” by Walter Winchell, pg. 11, col. 4:
Samuel Goldwyn’s latest as reported by Meyer Davis: “We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.”
The Reader’s Digest
SAMUEL GOLDWYN: “We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.” — Quoted by Walter Winchell.
27 August 1947, Brownsville (TX) Herald, “Famous Fables,” pg. 4, col. 1:
OVERPAID: Samuel Goldwyn was talking contract one afternoon with one of his ace directors.
“What happened?” another executive asked him, when the director left.
“I renewed his contract,” said the producer.
“For how much?”
Goldwyn told him.
“But that’s $1000 a week more than you paid him last time!” said the executive. “You’re overpaying him.”
“I know,” conceded Goldwyn, “but he’s worth it.”
The Show Business Nobody Knows
By Earl Wilson
Chicago, IL: Cowles Book Co.
He certainly said of Fredric March, “I’m overpaying him, but he’s worth it,” and, speaking of the high salary paid to a certain third baseman, he scoffed, “1 wouldn’t pay that much to a first baseman.”
The Big Book of Business Quotations
By Editors Of Perseus Publishing
New York, NY: Basic Books
We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.
Samuel Goldwyn (1882-1974) U.S. producer. Attrib
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
Irish bulls might be pregnant with truths
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Sep. 06, 2010 5:00AM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 4:25PM EDT
Alternate names for this phenomenon are “Goldwynism” and “Berraism” because of the penchant of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn and former baseball player Yogi Berra for this type of declaration.
Goldwyn “allegedly” made all of the following statements:
We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.
The Ultimate Star
By Stephen Michael Shearer
New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books
Douglas recalled Gloria “was having things very much her own way at this stage of her career,” with Goldwyn making excuses to his underlings: “We’re overpaying her, but she’s worth it.”