'Star Wars' and 'Hunger Games' Producer Allison Shearmur Dies at 54

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
Allison Shearmur

Before going off on her own, she worked for Disney, Universal, Paramount and Lionsgate.

Allison Shearmur, who produced the Hunger Games films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, died unexpectedly Friday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after a battle with lung cancer. She was 54.

Shearmur was an executive at Paramount and Lionsgate before making a transition to a producer role, becoming involved in some of the biggest movies of recent years.

She was an executive producer on 2017's Power Rangers and was casting Disney's The One and Only Ivan, which she was producing with Angelina Jolie.

Shearmur spent years in the executive trenches, acting as executive vp production at Universal Pictures and then co-president of production at Paramount from 2005 through early 2007 before joining Lionsgate as president of production. In that role, she oversaw installments of Jennifer Lawrence's Hunger Games franchise.

On the TV side, her company is behind an ABC musical remake of Dirty Dancing.

At Paramount, Shearmur oversaw the day-to-day development and production of the studio's film slate and literary acquisitions, spearheading such productions as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Stop Loss, Zodiac, Dreamgirls, Charlotte's Web, Nacho Libre and Failure to Launch.

Before joining Paramount, Shearmur was at Universal, where she oversaw the development and production of such hits as The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Identity, the American Pie trilogy, Along Came Polly and Erin Brockovich.

From 1994 to '97, Shearmur served as vp production for Walt Disney Pictures, where she developed and supervised George of the Jungle and other films. She had come to Disney from Stewart Pictures, where she acquired and helped develop the children's classic Madeline.

While at the University of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1985, Shearmur attended an event sponsored by the school's Career Planning Services unit, which offered a contest to win lunch with Oscar-winning producer Stanley Jaffe of Columbia Pictures. She won the contest, eventually became an assistant at Columbia/TriStar and found a mentor in Jaffe (Fatal Attraction, Kramer vs. Kramer). Shearmur worked at that company in a variety of roles, including director of comedy development at Columbia Pictures Television.

She also attended law school at USC and was a member of the California bar.

When Shearmur was promoted to Universal in 1998, Stacey Snider — then president of production at the studio — said: "In the little more than a year that she's been here, Ally has really shined, demonstrating remarkable creativity and energy."

Shearmur, a quadruplet, is survived by her husband, film composer Edward Shearmur; daughter Imogen and son Anthony; parents Martin and Rhoda Becker; brothers and sisters Jodi (and husband Fred Proust), John (and Heather Brecker) and Lisa (and Alan Hartstein); and seven nephews and nieces.

Shearmur spoke about Imogen in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last year before the magazine's Women in Entertainment event.

"It is the hope that my daughter will navigate a world where success is based solely on the power of one's ideas, character and strength of will rather than acquiesce to an outmoded set of assumptions about gender," she said. "It is one world, and we all work in it."

Asked how she would spend an extra day, she added: "I would sit by the ocean in Kauai, with my husband, watching my kids surf and be fearless."

Jan. 19, 6:54 p.m. Shearmur was 54. The article has been updated with that information.