Limelight Editions founder dies at 79

Company published 'Montgomery Clift,' 'Between Flops'

Melvyn Zerman, founder of Limelight Editions, a publisher of books about the performing arts, died April 19 of heart failure at his home in Manhattan. He was 79.

The Bronx native founded Limelight in 1984 and sold the company to Amadeus Books in 2003. The Hal Leonard Corp. bought Limelight in 2006, and new editions continue to be published under the imprint.

Limelight published original titles and paperback reprints of much-loved classics, with more than 200 going to print before Zerman sold the company. Titles included "The Making of the Wizard of Oz" by Aljean Harmetz, "Montgomery Clift: A Biography" by Patricia Bosworth, "Between Flops -- A Biography of Preston Sturges" by James Curtis, "Harpo Speaks" by Harpo Marx with Rowland Barber and "Notes on a Cowardly Lion" by John Lahr.

Zerman, a former sales manager at Random House, recounted his experiences as a murder trial juror in the 1977 novel "Call the Final Witness." He followed up with two nonfiction books for young adults.

Zerman is survived by sons Andrew and Jared and daughter Lenore. The family asks that donations be made to the New York chapter of the Alzheimer's Assn.
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