Walter Mirisch, Oscar-winning producer, dead at 101


LOS ANGELES — Walter Mirisch, the astute and Oscar-winning movie producer who oversaw such classics as “Some Like It Sizzling,” “West Facet Story” and “Within the Warmth of the Night time,” has died of pure causes, the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences mentioned Saturday. He was 101.

Mirisch died on Friday in Los Angeles, in accordance with an announcement from the academy’s CEO, Invoice Kramer, and its president, Janet Yang.

“Walter was a real visionary, each as a producer and as an trade chief,” they mentioned, noting he had served as academy president and an academy governor for a few years. “His ardour for filmmaking and the Academy by no means wavered, and he remained a pricey buddy and advisor. We ship our love and assist to his household throughout this tough time.”

Mirisch acquired the most effective image Academy Award for 1967′s “Within the Warmth of the Night time,” and the corporate run by him and his brothers additionally produced the best-picture Oscar winners “The Residence” and “West Facet Story.”

Born eight years earlier than the primary Academy Awards ceremony, he served as president of the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences from 1973 to 1977 and acquired two honorary Oscars, in 1978 and 1983, for his physique of labor and his humanitarian efforts.

As a producer, Mirisch aggressively recruited prime filmmakers similar to Billy Wilder and Norman Jewison, then gave them freedom to craft the films as they noticed match.

“We provided these filmmakers what they wanted,” he instructed the Los Angeles Instances in 1983. “Billy may name me up and say, `I’d subsequent love to do an image about so-and-so’ — and that’s all we’d must know. … We turned, in impact, companions with our administrators.”

His firm’s common secure of administrators included not solely Wilder and Jewison, however Blake Edwards and John Sturges. The corporate additionally produced films by John Ford, John Huston, William Wyler, George Roy Hill and Hal Ashby.

Mirisch entered the film enterprise in his teenagers, advancing from usher to administration jobs with a theater chain earlier than happening to manufacturing work on low-budget motion flicks and Westerns within the late Forties.

The corporate he based in 1957 together with his brother Marvin and half- brother Harold was one of the crucial profitable unbiased manufacturing outfits to come up from the outdated studio system as tv lower into film attendance.

The Mirisches made a string of hits from the Fifties to the Nineteen Seventies, amongst them “The Magnificent Seven,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Nice Escape,” “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “The Pink Panther” and its sequel, “A Shot within the Darkish.”

Their firm began with a handful of Westerns earlier than producing 1959′s “Some Like It Sizzling,” the Wilder comedy with Marilyn Monroe co-starring Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as cross-dressing musicians working from the mob.

Mirisch was keen to tackle uncommon initiatives. A Harvard-trained enterprise government, he effectively oversaw the commerce aspect of issues, permitting his filmmakers to focus on their films.

Elmore Leonard — the crime novelist and screenwriter on two Mirisch productions, 1974′s “Mr. Majestyk” and the 1987 TV film “Desperado” — devoted his Hollywood satire “Get Shorty” to Mirisch, calling him “one of many good guys.”

Mirisch was additionally amongst a handful of filmmakers Sidney Poitier acknowledged in his speech at the 2002 Academy Awards when he accepted an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement.

“These filmmakers persevered, talking by their artwork to the most effective in all of us,” mentioned Poitier, who starred in Mirisch’s “Within the Warmth of the Night time” and the sequel “They Name Me Mister Tibbs!”

The Mirisch brothers adjusted their administration type movie by movie, relying on the extent of oversight they felt a director wished or wanted. In a 1972 interview within the journal “Movies and Filming,” Mirisch mentioned some administrators labored effectively as their very own producers, whereas others confirmed little curiosity past the precise filmmaking.

“We’ve labored with sensible administrators and producer-directors, and I need to say that the connection with every of them has been totally totally different,” he mentioned.

A group for many of their careers, the Mirisch brothers additionally labored in theater. Earlier than becoming a member of the Allied Artists manufacturing firm within the Forties, Walter labored as a producer and later head of manufacturing and Harold and Marvin had administrative jobs.

Whereas at Allied, Walter produced each Westerns and a collection of low-budget titles within the “Bomba the Jungle Boy” collection that starred Johnny Sheffield, who had performed Boy within the “Tarzan” films of the Forties.

After his oldest brother, Harold, died in 1968, the surviving siblings continued their firm with Marvin as chairman and Walter, the youngest brother, in command of manufacturing. Marvin died in 2002.

Walter Mirisch continued to provide theatrical films into the Nineteen Eighties. Though the standard and business success of his movies typically declined, there have been nonetheless some hits, together with Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe for “Similar Time Subsequent 12 months.” Different movies that got here late in his profession included “Halfway,” “Grey Woman Down,” and the 1979 model of “Dracula.” He was additionally government producer on just a few tv initiatives within the Nineteen Nineties.

Walter Mortimer Mirisch was born in New York Metropolis on Nov. 8, 1921. After learning at Metropolis School of New York, he earned a bachelor’s diploma from the College of Wisconsin in Madison in 1942 and a graduate diploma in enterprise from Harvard in 1943.

In 1947, Mirisch married Patricia Kahan, who preceded him in demise. They’d three youngsters, Anne, Andrew and Lawrence.

In lieu of flowers, the household requested donations to the Movement Image and Tv Fund.

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