Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Susan Nicholson Hofheinz
Ah yes, everybody's favorite actress.
Most people will never have heard the name and those that remember her will know her best as Susan Hart. She made her film debut in THE SLIME PEOPLE (though she denies it) and is thought to have retired from acting after her appearane in DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE.
Her importance as an actress is minimal. Her real importance is that she married Jim Nicholson, head of American International Pictures and, after his death, came into possession of some of the 1950's most beloved drive-in classics.
And that's when it gets ugly. I used to hear stories that, on the surface, sounded ridiculous. There were stories that Mrs. Hofheinz (her re-married name) was hiring "spies" to go to sci-fi conventions to make sure nothing related to her library of classic movies was being marketed. There were stories of her lawyers shutting down even the smallest attempts to screen her films.
I was watching a Michael Landon bio the other day and, during a clip of I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF, there was a huge advisory posted on the screen saying "I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF, Academy Pictures 1957, Copyright Susan Nicholson Hofheinz"
So I decided to do some searching on the former Susan Hart to see if there could be any validity to these absurd stories. Well, let me tell you, that lady is a FLAKE!
I found a MINIMUM of four court cases in which SNH attempted to sue for the unauthorized use of TRAILERS from her movies. She lost every single case.
In one instance, she attempted to sue A&E television because they used a 20 second long trailer clip of IT CONQUERED THE WORLD for a Peter Graves biography. She lost the case. But get this, the case is under appeal! That's right, she is actually appealing the ruling of a federal court over a small portion of a trailer!
In another case, she launched a suit against Discovery Communications for the use of a 48 second trailer clip of INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN. The original "infraction" occurred in 1996 and SNR sued in 2000. The judge granted a summary dismissal in favor of Discovery comunications. First, he stated that SNH waited too long to bring the suit. Furthermore, he referenced her earlier court losses in which trailer use was deemed "fair use". He also went on to note that "the plaintiff has made no attempt to advertise or market" her copyrighted material.
I don't know who "MR." Hofheinz is but I'm guessing he must have a boat load of money. By my estimate, Susan Hart Nicholson Hofheinz is about 65 years old now. She hasn't authorized the release of any of "her" movies on DVD. Companies like Image or Synapse would pay top dollar in a heartbeat for the rights to her material. She's apparently uninterested in the money. Nevertheless, she continues to employ a team that sues...AND LOSES EVERYTIME...anybody using a trailer under the fair use doctrine. Geez, I wish I had that kinda' money.