Producer and self-appointed movie mogul Joseph E. Levine was one of Hollywood's more flamboyant characters. Originally a clothier, he got his start after purchasing a New Haven, Connecticut movie house. By the early '40s he had become a film distributor. Founding Embassy Pictures in the late '50s, Levine became popular for buying Italian muscle epics on the cheap and then promoting them amidst considerable hype to American audiences. He also distributed some of Fellini's early greats. During the '60s, Levine turned to production and was behind such films as The Graduate (1967) and A Bridge Too Far (1977). He sold Embassy to Avco in the late '60s to form Avco-Embassy. He remained it's president until leaving in 1974 to found the Joseph E. Levine Presents company.