Movie, Music, Broadway Investor Allen Schwalb Dead At 76
A Florida aerospace engineer, he got involved in finance and then in financing Broadway plays, music and movies over three decades.
Allen J. Schwalb, a financier who invested in music, movies and Broadway during his career, has died at age 76, his business associate at Star Partners Robert Maetz said Thursday. No cause of death was provided.
Schwalb, who lived much of his life in Florida, began his career in the aerospace industry where he designed rocket propulsion systems in the early days of the American space program.
He also used his five master’s degrees in math and financial fields to invest in the stock market on his own and for others.
He began investing in the entertainment business through a love of music. He was an investor in Casablanca Records which beginning in the 1970s made its mark in electronic and disco music with artists including Donna Summers.
In the 1970s he was also an early investor in what became the hit Broadway musical Annie, which he first saw in an out of town tryout. It became a long-running hit.
From there Schwalb began investing in movies, including films produced by Orion and Carolco, when both were independent distributors. Among the films he invested in then were Rocky and Rambo.
Star Partners was formed to invest in slates of movies. Schwalb was general partner for seven such partnerships, including deals with MGM/UA and Warner Bros. Through those slate deals he is said to have been an investor in a number of movies including Rain Man, Thelma & Louise, Dirty Harry and Moonstruck.
Schwalb also got involved in professional sports and was a limited partner when the NBA expanded into Orlando in 1988. He also owned teams in the Arena Football League.
In 2013, Schwalb announced a partnership with a producer in Nashville, Bob Farnsworth of Hummingbird Productions, to make a sequel called It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest Of The Story with a budget of $25 million to $32 million.
At the time a number of fans took to social media to decry such an effort; and Paramount Pictures said it owned the underlying rights to the property and had not licensed a sequel.
The information provided for the obituary says the It’s a Wonderful Life project is still underway and the movie has a screenplay and has begun casting, but on Thursday a spokesperson for Paramount Pictures told THR that there is still no deal or license for such a production. A call to the producer in Nashville was not returned.