Producer Marc Merson Dies at 82

Marc Merson

The Oscar and Emmy nominee worked on such films as “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” and “Doc Hollywood.”

Marc Merson, who produced such films as The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and Doc Hollywood, died Sept. 29 of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his family announced. He was 82.

Merson received an Oscar nomination in 1970 for producing the 12-minute short film People Soup, which was directed by Alan Arkin and starred his sons Adam Arkin and Matthew Arkin. Earlier, he earned an Emmy nom for his work on the premiere of the anthology series ABC Stage 67; that installment starred Alan Arkin.

A year later, Alan Arkin played deaf-mute John Singer in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, a 1968 melodrama directed by Robert Ellis Miller, for which the actor earned the second of his four career Oscar noms.

PHOTOS: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2013

Merson also produced the feature Leadbelly (1976), in which Roger E. Mosley portrayed the legendary blues/folk singer Huddie Leadbetter. His final credit came as an executive producer on the comedy Doc Hollywood (1991), starring Michael J. Fox as a young doctor stuck in a small town.

Merson also executive produced Kaz, a 1978-79 CBS drama series that starred Ron Leibman as a car thief turned criminal attorney. In 1967, he produced a musical version of George Bernard Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion, with songs by Richard Rodgers, for NBC.

Merson grew up in New York City and graduated from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He spent several years as a program executive for CBS before forming Brownstone Productions in 1966.

In 1991, he put his career on hold to organize Eco Expo, the first national environmental consumer trade show. 

Survivors include his wife, Nina, sisters Ruth and Evelyn, daughters Wendy and Julie and grandchildren Ruby, Julia, Miles, Rosie, Ava, Martha and Oliver.