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Edward S. Feldman, the studio publicist turned producer who guided such films as the best picture nominee Witness, The Truman Show and The Hitcher, died Friday in Los Angeles, his family announced. He was 91.
During his six-decade career, the Bronx native also produced movies including Save the Tiger (1973), an Oscar winner for Jack Lemmon; The Golden Child (1986), starring Eddie Murphy; the live-action features The Jungle Book (1994), 101 Dalmatians (1996) and 102 Dalmatians (2000); and Harrison Ford’s K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), his final film.
For television, Feldman produced such miniseries as the fact-based 1976’s 21 Hours at Munich, 1978’s King — both of which earned him Emmy Award nominations — and 1982’s Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story.
At the 1986 Oscars, the Ford-starring Witness lost out to Out of Africa. Feldman also was nominated for the best film BAFTA trophy for that film and for Jim Carrey’s The Truman Show (1998).
After graduating from Michigan State University, Feldman was hired by 20th Century Fox to serve as a writer in its press book department in Manhattan. After a two-year stint with the U.S. Air Force, he would become the studio’s contact for fan magazines, trade papers and the New York media.
Feldman exited Fox to promote The World of Suzie Wong (1960), produced by Ray Stark, at Paramount Pictures, then joined Embassy Pictures as head of advertising and publicity.
Two years later, Feldman reunited with Stark at Seven Arts Productions, where his first project as head of publicity was the controversial screen adaptation of Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962). With Feldman’s intervention, the Catholic Legion of Decency agreed to not rate the film “condemned” provided the studio enforce a rule banning anyone under age 18 from attending.
Because of his association with Stark, son-in-law of comedian Fanny Brice, Feldman handled advertising and publicity for the Broadway production of Funny Girl throughout its 1964-67 run.
Once Seven Arts acquired Warner Bros., Feldman relocated to Hollywood in 1967 and became an executive at Warners, then began his producing career at Filmways. His first credit was the melodrama What’s the Matter With Helen? (1971), starring Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters.
Feldman went on to produce other films including The Other Side of the Mountain (1975), Two-Minute Warning (1976), Near Dark (1987), Hot Dog … The Movie (1984), Wired (1989), Green Card (1990), The Doctor (1991), Forever Young (1992) and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992).
Survivors include his children, Shari, Mark and Richard, and grandchildren Jenna, Kyla, Justin and Lauren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Lorraine.
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