David Belasco – 1853-1931
Either as playwright or producer, Belasco was associated with no fewer than 347 plays. The vast majority were undistinguished as literature, but were great commercial successes. The association of his name with an actor or a play guaranteed a full house. He innovated production techniques, emphasizing sensational realism, lavish production values, and special effects (mostly with lighting). Routinely transforming unknown actors into stars, Belasco pioneered American show business as truly Big Business.