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Arab Americans

Elie Samaha

Elie Samaha

Elie Samaha (Arabic: إيلي سماحة) (born May 10, 1955, ZahléLebanon) is a nightclub owner,[2] real estate entrepreneur, and film producer in Los Angeles, with production credits beginning with The Immortals in 1995. Samaha has produced over 83 works, primarily films along with some video games. He has won one award in this capacity: a Golden Raspberry Award forWorst Picture, which he shared with John Travolta and Jonathan D. Krane, for the 2000 film Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000.

Between 1998 and 2004, Samaha produced films under the Franchise Pictures studio title, which included films such asBattlefield Earth.

Samaha specialized in rescuing stars’ pet projects. Franchise sought out stars whose projects were stalled at the major studios, bringing them aboard at reduced salaries. Samaha’s approach made waves in Hollywood, earning him a reputation of being able to produce star vehicles more cheaply than the larger studios.[3] His unorthodox deals raised eyebrows and the entertainment industry magazine Variety commented that they were “often so complex and variable as to leave outsiders scratching their heads”.[4] As Samaha put it during an interview about Battlefield Earth, “I said, ‘If John [Travolta] wants to make this movie, what does he want to get paid?’ … Because I do not pay anybody what they make. That is not my business plan.”[5]

Personal life

He was married to Diane Shammas from 1980 to 1988. He was married to actress Tia Carrere from 1992 to 2000. Samaha also was formerly a co-owner/founder of the dry cleaner chain Celebrity Cleaners and co-owner of the Roxbury nightclub in Los Angeles.



  1. Jump up to:a b
  2. Jump up^ Miller, Daniel (April 28, 2011). “Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to Be Sold to Producers Elie Samaha, Don Kushner”Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  3. Jump up^ Shprintz, Janet (July 31, 2009). “Legal eagle says Elie fudged budgets”. Variety.
  4. Jump up^ Bing, Jonathan (June 9, 2003). “The Samaha Syndrome”. Variety.
  5. Jump up^ Hirschberg, Lynn (May 14, 2000). “The Samaha Formula for Hollywood Success”New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2008.