Ivan Tors wrote several plays in his natal country Hungary before moving to the United States just prior to World War II. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps then transferred to the Office of Strategic Services. Following the war he was contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a screenwriter. In 1952 he made Storm over Tibet, his first film as co-writer and producer. He began his partnership with his fellow Hungarian Andrew Marton with this film. Long interested in fact-based science fiction, often with an underwater setting, Tors partnered with actor Richard Carlson in the 1950s to create A-Men Films, a production company devoted to making movies about its own fictitious exploits. Under the A-Men banner, Tors wrote and produced films such as The Magnetic Monster (1951), Riders to the Stars (1954), Gog (1954) and the television series Science Fiction Theatre, Sea Hunt, and The Aquanauts, starred Keith Larsen, Jeremy Slate, and Ron Ely, renamed Malibu Run. He created the NBC science fiction series The Man and the Challenge, starred principally George Nader and Jack Ging and was the executive producer of Ripcord. His Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) trilogy consisted of The Magnetic Monster, Riders to the Stars, and Gog, already mentioned.
In the 1960s Tors left science fiction and concentrated on making films and television series involving animals. He typically would make a film first and then develop a television series based on the film. His animal films included Flipper (1963), Flipper’s New Adventure (1964), Zebra in the Kitchen (1965), Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion (1965), Gentle Giant (1967), and Africa Texas Style (1967). He also directed Zebra in the Kitchen, Rhino! (1964), and Galyon (1977). His animal-themed television adventure series included Flipper, Daktari, Gentle Ben, Cowboy in Africa, and Jambo, a documentary series set in Africa, and was also the executive producer of MGM Television’s 1967 TV series Off to See the Wizard. His production company, Ivan Tors Films, did the underwater filming for the James Bond film Thunderball as well as filming his own Around the World Under the Sea for MGM and Daring Game and Hello Down There for Paramount. Tors’ studio also filmed Soupy Sales’ film debut in Birds Do It. Tors was married to film actress Constance Dowling from 1955 until her death in 1969. Tors died 14 years later, eight days before his 67th birthday. He died in Mato Grosso, Brazil where he was scouting a new television series. In 1989 the Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences posthumously awarded Tors a NOGI Award in Arts.
- June, 12, 1916
- Budapest, Austria-Hungary
- June, 04, 1983
- Mato Grosso, Brazil