Marvin Mirisch, one of a trio of brothers who dominated independent production
in Hollywood in the 1960s, died November 17, 2002, at UCLA Medical Center in Los
Angeles. He was 84. In 1953, he moved to Los Angeles to join his brothers Harold
and Walter at Monogram Pictures. In the mid-50s, Monogram became Allied Artists,
aspiring to produce higher quality films. While at Allied, the Mirisches independently
packaged the John Huston films "Moulin Rouge" and "Moby Dick,"
which were released by United Artists and Warner Bros., respectively. They were also
involved with the production of Billy Wilder's "Love in the Afternoon"
and William Wyler's "Friendly Persuasion," both released by Allied Artists.
These activities resulted in relationships with prominent directors that formed the
paradigm for their later success.
In 1957, Mirisch along with his brothers Harold and Walter at Monogram Pictures,
made a deal with United Artists that led to the production of 68 motion pictures
over the next 17 years. Mirisch films were nominated for 79 Academy Awards® and
won 23, including three best pictures, "The Apartment," "West Side
Story," and "In the Heat of the Night." Other titles during this time
included "Some Like it Hot;" "The Magnificent Seven," which spawned
three sequels and a television series, "The Great Escape," "Irma La
Douce," "The Pink Panther," "The Russians are Coming,
The Russians are Coming" and "The Thomas Crown Affair." Their UA period
culminated in the production of the film version of "Fiddler on the Roof"
in 1972. Harold died in 1968, and in 1974, Walter and Marvin moved to Universal Pictures,
where they produced a number of other films, including "Midway" and "Same
Time, Next Year."
In an industry noted for ego, Marvin Mirisch was known for his modesty. Although
he operated largely behind the scenes as a deal-maker, negotiator and business executive,
he was knowledgeable in all aspects of production, receiving credit as Executive
Producer on "Dracula" (1979) and "Romantic Comedy" (1982). In
the latter part of his career, he particularly enjoyed his involvement with merchandising
and animation, and he acted as an Executive Producer of a new "Pink Panther"
cartoon series produced by MGM-UA in 1993-94. See oscars.org
Cartoon by Hossein Kazem
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