Sam Spiegel was one of the most consistently successful, distinguished independent producers and was behind some of the most prestigious films in American and British cinema. Born in what was once Jaroslau, Austria (now Jaroslaw, Poland), and educated at the University of Vienna, Spiegel came briefly to Hollywood in 1927 as a story translator following a stint serving with a youth group in Palestine. He then went to Berlin to produce German and French adaptations of Universal films until 1933 when he fled Germany. As an independent producer, Spiegel was behind a number of European films. In 1935, he emigrated to the U.S. Between then and 1954, Spiegel billed himself as S.P. Eagle. After that he used his real name. In 1963, he was awarded the prestigious Irving Thalberg Memorial Award at that year's Oscars for his many contributions to cinema.