Sunday, July 13, 2014

Producer Pandro S. Berman 1996 Hillside Cemetery

Pandro Samuel Berman (March 28, 1905 – July 13, 1996) was an American film producer.


Pandro Berman was born in Pittsburgh in 1905. His father Henry Berman was general manager of Universal Pictures during Hollywood's formative years. Pandro was an assistant director during the 1920s under Mal St. Clair and Ralph Ince. In 1930, Berman was hired as a film editor at RKO Radio Pictures, then became an assistant producer. When RKO supervising producer William LeBaron walked out during production of the ill-fated The Gay Diplomat (1931), Berman took over LeBaron's responsibilities, remaining in the post until 1939. He managed to survive David O. Selznick's general firing of most of the staff.

The Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals were in production during the Berman regime, Katharine Hepburn rose to prominence, and such RKO classics as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Gunga Din (both 1939) were completed. Berman was willing to give creative people plenty of elbow room, but there were limits; having been coaxed by Hepburn and director George Cukor to push through production of the 1936 film Sylvia Scarlett, Berman reportedly reacted to the poor audience response to that film (the worst in RKO's history by telling Hepburn and Cukor that he never wanted to see their faces again.

Katharine Hepburn, Vincente Minnelli, Pandro S. Berman

Upset when an RKO power-play diminished his authority, Berman left for MGM in 1940, where he oversaw such productions as Ziegfeld Girl (1941), National Velvet (1944), The Bribe (1949), Father of the Bride (1950), Blackboard Jungle (1955) and BUtterfield 8 (1960).

He survived several executive shake-ups at MGM and remained there until 1963, then went into independent production, closing out his career with the unsuccessful Move (1970).

Six of his films were nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture: The Gay Divorcee (1934), Alice Adams and Top Hat (both 1935), Stage Door (1937), Father of the Bride (1950), and Ivanhoe (1952).

Berman was the winner of the 1976 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. He died of congestive heart failure on July 13, 1996 in his Beverly Hills home, aged 91.

Pandro S. Berman is buried at Hillside Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Selected filmography

One Man's Journey (1933)
The Little Minister (1934)
The Gay Divorcee (1934)
Of Human Bondage (1934)
Alice Adams (1935)
Top Hat (1935)
Swing Time (1936)
Mary of Scotland (1936)
Shall We Dance? (1937; uncredited)
Stage Door (1937)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939; Charles Laughton)
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
Rio Rita (1942)
Dragon Seed (1944)
National Velvet (1944)
Song of Russia (1944; uncredited)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945; Hurd Hatfield)
If Winter Comes (1947)
The Three Musketeers (1948)
The Bribe (1949)
Madame Bovary (1949)
Father of the Bride (1950)
Ivanhoe (1952)
The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
Knights of the Round Table (1953)
The Long, Long Trailer (1954)
Blackboard Jungle (1955)
Bhowani Junction (1956)
Tea and Sympathy (1956)
Jailhouse Rock (1957)
The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
The Reluctant Debutante (1958)
Butterfield 8 (1960)
Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)
A Patch of Blue (1965)

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