Actor, ‘Monster’ Producer Was 91

Mark Damon, who starred within the Vincent Worth horror traditional Home of Usher and spaghetti Westerns earlier than revolutionizing the international gross sales and distribution movie enterprise and producing options together with 9 1/2 WeeksMonster and Lone Survivor, has died. He was 91. 

Damon died Sunday of pure causes in Los Angeles, his daughter, Alexis Damon Ribaut, advised The Hollywood Reporter.

Damon spent the primary 20 years of his profession as an actor, together with a few dozen as a number one man in Italian motion motion pictures, earlier than he transitioned to the enterprise facet.

He had early success as an govt producer with two motion pictures written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen: the German-language World Warfare II drama Das Boot (1981), which obtained six Oscar nominations, and The NeverEnding Story (1984), a big-budget fantasy movie that featured a Damon-commissioned rating by Giorgio Moroder for non-German audiences.

He shared an Unbiased Spirit Award with director Patty Jenkins and others for Monster (2003), starring Charlize Theron in an Oscar-winning flip as real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos.

Damon produced or govt produced some 5 dozen options throughout his profession, amongst them Adrian Lyne’s 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), John Badham’s Quick Circuit (1986), Joel Schumacher‘s The Misplaced Boys (1987), Stalingrad (1993), The Jungle Guide (1994), Trey Parker’s Orgazmo (1997), A Canine of Flanders (1999), The Upside of Anger (2005), Baltasar Kormákur’s 2 Weapons (2013), Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor (2013), The Final Full Measure (2019) and Willy’s Wonderland (2021).

Born Alan Harris in Chicago on April 22, 1933, Damon attended Fairfax Excessive College and UCLA in Los Angeles, studied performing with Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner and roomed with Jack Nicholson.

He had an enormous 12 months as an actor in 1956, displaying up on CBS’ Alfred Hitchcock Presents and within the movies Inside Detroit, Screaming Eagles and Richard Fleischer’s Between Heaven and Hell.

He graduated to main man standing with Younger and Harmful (1957) and The Celebration Crashers (1958) — each reverse Connie Stevens — plus Life Begins at 17 (1958), This Insurgent Breed (1960) after which AIP’s Home of Usher (1960), from producer-director Roger Corman.

For his efficiency because the fiancé of a girl (Myrna Fahey) whose demented brother (Worth) desperately tries to stop them from marrying, Damon obtained a Golden Globe for many promising male newcomer.

When he was 28, he went to Italy and was solid in Westerns. “I used to be stunned, as a result of I had by no means ridden a horse in my life,” he said in a 2014 interview. “Cowboys needed to be tall and blond, and I’m not that tall. I had very darkish hair on the time, however they mentioned, ‘It doesn’t matter. You’re American.’ I mentioned OK and realized to trip a horse.”

He starred in Italy in Sergio Corbucci’s The Shortest Day (1963), Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath (1963), The Son of Cleopatra (1964), Secret Agent 777 (1965), Ringo and His Golden Pistol (1966), Johnny Yuma (1966), A Prepare for Durango (1968), The Younger, the Evil and the Savage (1968), Pistol Packin’ Preacher (1971), Crypt of the Dwelling Useless (1973) and Bang, and the Angels Sing (1974).

Mark Damon in 1966’s ‘Ringo and His Golden Pistol’

Courtesy Everett Assortment

With Damon discovering himself typecast and Westerns turning into outworn, he give up performing to search out one thing else to do, and in 1975 he took a job with an Italian movie distributor that paid him $1,000 a month. “They actually needed me as a result of they thought I knew everybody in Hollywood and will get them larger footage,” he mentioned.

On the time, the key U.S. studios dealt with international gross sales, however he thought native firms might get extra field workplace out of movies.

“An unbiased distributor abroad who’s placing his personal cash into a movie, he’s going to struggle rather a lot more durable, not solely in the important thing cities but additionally the provinces, to make that image occur, as a result of he has his personal cash at stake,” he told producer/podcaster Matthew Helderman in 2020. “The majors have their staff who’re solely serious about their paychecks.”

Damon mentioned it took him about seven years earlier than he lastly proved that independents might do higher than the studios.

He returned to the U.S. in 1977 and based the manufacturing and gross sales firm Producers Gross sales Group. Following Das Boot and The NeverEnding Story, PSO dealt with international gross sales for Martin Scorsese‘s The King of Comedy (1982) and ‘s As soon as Upon a Time in America (1984).

After PSO went bankrupt, he, Jon Peters and Peter Guber in 1987 based Imaginative and prescient International, which finally was bought to Credit score Lyonaisse. In 1993, Damon launched manufacturing, gross sales and distribution outfit MDP Worldwide, which went public; a decade later, it grew to become Media 8 Leisure, then it filed for chapter safety in 2012.

In 1980, he was one of many founders of the American Movie Advertising and marketing Affiliation, now referred to as the Unbiased Movie & Tv Alliance, and he printed a guide, From Cowboy to Mogul to Monster: The Neverending Story of Movie Pioneer Mark Damon, in 2008.

Along with his daughter, survivors embody his second spouse, actress Margaret Markov, whom he married in October 1976 — they first met when she starred in The Enviornment (1974), which he produced with Corman — his son, Jonathan; and his son-in-law, Mathieu.

“My declare to fame might be the truth that I principally, coming from an performing background, grew to become what they name the godfather of unbiased movies. The one who invented the international gross sales enterprise. The one who invented methods to get movies financed,” Damon mentioned in Luke Ford’s 2004 guide, The Producers: Profiles in Frustration.

“How did any person do what I did? As a result of I didn’t know higher. I got here in with such contemporary viewpoint as a result of I’d been an actor and didn’t know something.”

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