Sir Michael Elias Balcon (19 May 1896 – 17 October 1977) was an English film producer known for his leadership of Ealing Studios in West London from 1938 to 1955. Under his direction, the studio became the one of the most important British film studios of the day. In an industry short of Hollywood-style moguls, Balcon emerged as a key figure, and an obdurately British one too, in his benevolent, somewhat headmasterly approach to the running of a creative organization. He is known for his leadership, as well as guidance of young Alfred Hitchcock. Balcon had earlier co-founded Gainsborough Pictures with Victor Saville in 1923, later working with Gaumont British, which absorbed their studio. Later still he worked with MGM-British. In 1956 he founded a production company known as Ealing Films, and later headed British Lion Films. He served as chairman of the British Film Institute production board to help fund and encourage new work. Balcon was described in his obituary in The Times as a 'pioneer of British films' who 'had courage, energy and flair for showmanship'.