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The Story of Oscar Statuette Producer Dick Polich

Dick Polich (photo: pollich tallix)

Dick Polich (photo: pollich tallix)

A fine art foundry near New York owned by Dick Polich, the son of Croatian immigrants, were in charge of producing the famous Oscar statuette for the 88th Academy Awards, which will be held in Los Angeles last night…

For over 30 years the Oscar statuettes had been manufactured by a Chicago trophy firm, but the Academy gave the contract to the Pollich Tallix Fine Art Foundry last year.

Polich (82), who went to Yale University on a football scholarship and graduated with an economics degree before founding his own foundry, spoke to daily Jutarnji list on the eve of the Oscars.

Croatian connection to this year's Oscar statuettes (photo: polich tallix)

Croatian connection to this year’s Oscar statuettes (photo: polich tallix)

“The Oscars bought us a lot of publicity these day, but for decades we have been doing complicated projects,” Polich, who founded his business in 1972 said.

Polich, originally Polić, descended from a small village of 350 people called Zlobin, which is situated between Primorje and Gorski Kotar and is 13km from Bakra on the northern Adriatic coast. Polich’s parents came to America at the beginning of the 1920s.

Dick says he does not know too much about Croatia but remembers stories and legends he was told as a kid. He last visited over 20 years ago. Dick says that he has not spoken Croatian since his mother died 15 years ago.

Polich Tallix was among the first in the United States to offer technological expertise and industrial capabilities in metalworking, which had previously been only capable in Europe. Dick Polich has made thousands of sculptures in his career, and worked with more than five hundred artists. At the foundry at any one time, work is being carried out on over two hundred different works of art, from architectural elements, to US national monuments, to small sculptures and other art pieces.

50 statuettes took around 3 months to make (photo: polich tallix)

50 statuettes took around 3 months to make (photo: polich tallix)

Polich grew up in a western Chicago suburb amongst the Croatian immigrant community.

“It was quite a ‘hard’ place in the formative years, although at least I actually had a good childhood. With us were my grandparents, who migrated from Croatia also before I was born. My brother was killed in World War II, in the Pacific, fighting against the Japanese. The suburb in which I grew up was a white backgrounds, and us immigrants were at the bottom of the social ladder. Schools were huge, they had around 4,000 students. Sport was a big thing. I was good at sports and I was also a good student,” Polich says, who was offered a football scholarship at Yale University.

Bakar - near where Polich's are from

Bakar – near where Polich’s are from

At Yale Polich studied economics and then got a job in that field before doing architecture at Harvard and doing Masters at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I’m an engineer and craftsman. I was lucky in my life that I recognized what I was good at, though it actually took me20 years, until I started this foundry,” Polich says.

Despite being in his 80s Dick Polich has no plans to retire.

“As a child I learned that to live is to work. I’ve always worked hard. I like to have people around me who are dedicated to what they do and who do not give up easily,” Dick concluded.

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