Producer Samuel Bronston played a key role in developing Spain into a European movie-making center during the 1960s. Born in Bessarabia, Rumania, Bronston began his film career as a salesman for MGM in France after attending the Sorbonne. He worked as a production executive for Columbia in the early 1940s. He formed his own independent company, Samuel Bronston Productions, in 1943, but did not become well-known until the late 1950s when he went to Spain to produce several big-budget epics.Their success inspired him to help build gigantic studios near Madrid. Unfortunately, to invest in their construction, Bronston ended up financially overextending himself and in 1964 had to stop all business activities. He was then heavily sued in court and could no longer produce films. He publicly announced his return in 1971 with a planned epic about Isabella of Spain, but the film was never made. As of 1975, Bronston still owed debtors over $4 million. In the late 1940s, Bronston served as the official Vatican photographer.