'Georgy Girl' Producer Robert A. Goldston Dies at 88

Robert Goldston - Publicity - P 2017
Courtesy of James Goldston

With the 'Play of the Week' TV series and American Film Theater, he was involved in capturing classic plays on both television and film.

Producer Robert A. Goldston, whose credits ranged from such American Film Theatre productions as The Iceman Cometh and A Delicate Balance in the 1970s to the 1987 HBO film Mandela, died Saturday at his home in New York from complications of Crohn’s disease. He was 88.

A graduate of Harvard Law, Goldston practiced law briefly before entering show business, working first at Screen Gems/Columbia and then joining New York’s WNTA, the forerunner to public television station WNET. There, as president of NTA Productions, he was involved in the Play of the Week series, which ran from 1959-1961, broadcasting 67 Broadway-style productions of plays by such writers as Eugene O’Neill, John Steinbeck, Samuel Beckett, Anton Chekhov and Sean O’Casey that were produced or directed by such figures as Sidney Lumet, David Susskind, Peter Hall and Harold Clurman and starred an array of popular actors.

Establishing his Playpix Productions, Goldston segued into theatrical producing with the off-Broadway shows Hey You Lightman and Telemachus Clay as well as film productions with 1965’s The Uncle and 1966’s Georgy Girl, starring a young Lynn Redgrave.

He also produced such films as 1968’s The Bofors Gun, 1972’s A Separate Peace and 1979’s Murder by Decree.

In 1973, Goldston reteamed with Play of the Week’s Ely Landau, serving as supervising producing on a series of filmed plays for the American Film Theatre that included Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, directed by Peter Hall, and O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, directed by John Frankenheimer.

He went on to serve as executive producer on 1979’s The Bell Jar and 1985’s Runaway Train and as associate producer on Mandela, which reflected his own interests in the fight for social justice. As a neighbor and friend of New York’s late Gov. Mario Cuomo, Goldston had been involved in community activism, including the fight for fair housing.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judith; his son James, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative; daughter-in-law Veronika; and grandson Sam.