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Richard A. Roth, who produced such films as the coming-of-age classic Summer of ’42 and the Gene Wilder comedy The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, has died. He was 76.
Roth died March 17 of natural causes at his home in New York City, his family announced.
He should not be confused with another producer named Richard Roth; that one earned an Oscar nomination for Julia and also produced other films including Blue Velvet and The Way We Were.
Richard A. Roth was working for a small literary agency when he happened on the screenplay for Summer of ’42 languishing in what was described as “the slush pile.” He borrowed $5,000 from his father to option the script, then brought it to director Robert Mulligan, and they convinced Warner Bros. to make it for $1 million.
The 1971 period piece, starring Jennifer O’Neill and Gary Grimes, was a box-office hit and received four Oscar nominations, winning for Michel Legrand’s score. A song from the film, “The Summer Knows,” with lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman and based on Legrand’s theme, was recorded by Barbra Streisand and became a hit.
Roth also produced Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (1975), written and directed by and starring Wilder, and he had a bit part as an aide to Inspector Kemp (Kenneth Mars), the guy with the creaky prosthetic arm, in Wilder’s Young Frankenstein (1974).
Roth also produced the romantic drama Our Time (1974), set in the 1950s at an all-girls school, and Outland (1981), a space thriller that starred Sean Connery. Both films were directed by Peter Hyams.
An avid yachtsman, Roth attended UCLA, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Vienna and graduated from Stanford Law School. He worked for CBS Entertainment in the 1980s.
Survivors include his wife Sharon, stepson Richard, sister Diane, brother-in-law Albert and nieces Juliann and Lisa.
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