United Artists Corporation is an American film studio.
The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, with the intention of controlling their own interests rather than depending upon the powerful commercial studios.
The current United Artists formed in November 2006 under a partnership between producer/actor Tom Cruise and his production partner, Paula Wagner, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Paula Wagner left the studio on August 14, 2008. Cruise owned a small stake in the studio until late 2011. It is now a fully owned subsidiary of MGM, which itself is owned by MGM Holdings.
United Artists was incorporated as a joint venture on February 5, 1919, by four of the leading figures in early Hollywood: Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith. Each held a 20% stake, with the remaining 20% held by lawyer William Gibbs McAdoo. The idea for the venture originated with Fairbanks, Chaplin, Pickford, and cowboy star William S. Hart a year earlier as they were traveling around the U.S. selling Liberty bonds to help the World War I effort. Already veterans of Hollywood, the four film stars began to talk of forming their own company to better control their own work as well as their futures.