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Harry J. Ufland, a veteran agent turned producer who collaborated with director Martin Scorsese on The Last Temptation of Christ and the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” has died. He was 81.
Ufland died of brain cancer at his Playa Vista home in Los Angeles, his son, Tommy Ufland, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Ufland also produced films including Irwin Winkler’s Night and the City (1992), starring Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange; Carl Franklin’s One True Thing (1998), with Meryl Streep nominated for best actress; Snow Falling on Cedars (1999), starring Ethan Hawke; and Crazy/Beautiful (2001), featuring Kirsten Dunst.
Ufland was representing Scorsese when he received a note of thanks in the credits for one of the filmmaker’s earliest features, Mean Streets (1973), and he appeared onscreen as an agent for kidnapped late-night host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) in Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1982).
Ufland also served as an executive producer on Jackson’s 18-minute, West Side Story-influenced “Bad” music video that was helmed by Scorsese in 1986 and on The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), for which Scorsese earned a best director Oscar nomination.
Born in Manhattan on March 12, 1936, Ufland was raised in the uptown neighborhood of Washington Heights. He worked as an agent at William Morris from 1958-74 and at CMA/ICM from 1974-76 before launching his own outfit, where he helped package Scorsese’s acclaimed Raging Bull (1980).
His clients also included De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Peter Bogdanovich, Catherine Deneuve, Charles Grodin, Jodie Foster, Martin Brest, Marcello Mastroianni, Ridley and Tony Scott, Adrian Lyne and Jonathan Kaplan.
In 1982, Ufland founded Ufland-Roth Productions with Joe Roth and worked alongside his wife, Mary Jane, in Ufland Productions from 1985-2011. He had producer credits on Streets of Gold (1986), directed by Roth, and Not Without My Daughter (1991), starring Sally Field, during this period.
The last film he produced was The Big Wedding (2013), starring De Niro and Diane Keaton.
Ufland was a professor at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, California, from 2011 until his death.
In addition to his son and wife of 33 years, survivors include his children John, Anne, Chris, Jenny and Jossie from a previous marriage.
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