Former Technicolor Exec Jay Cipes Dies at 86

Jay Cipes Headshot - P 2013

Jay Cipes Headshot - P 2013

He also worked in publicity at Columbia Pictures, formed St. Regis Films in the early 1960s and produced an ABC telefilm that starred Darren McGavin.

Jay Cipes, a producer and Technicolor executive for more than 20 years, died Feb. 1 of natural causes in Encino, his daughter said. He was 86.

Cipes joined Technicolor in 1973 as vp marketing, eventually becoming senior vp, worldwide marketing director for the company’s Professional Film Division. He worked with some of the most talented editors and cinematographers in the business, including Dede Allen, Carol Littleton, John Bailey, Vittorio Storaro, John Alanzo, Gordon Willis, John Alcott, Victor Kemper, Giuseppe Rotunno, Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond.

Cipes also was known for hosting Technicolor Academy Awards parties, gathering the most highly respected craftspeople in the world on the eve of the Oscars each year.

Cipes began his film career in the publicity department of Columbia Pictures in New York, then worked for Flamingo Films, where he met his longtime business partner, Ed Palmer.

Cipes and Palmer formed St. Regis Films International in the early 1960s to acquire foreign films, dub them into English and syndicate them to U.S. television stations. When the St. Regis slate was acquired by Four Star Productions, they moved to Los Angeles and had development deals at Fox, MGM and Columbia.

At Fox, they produced The Challenge, an intriguing 1970 ABC Movie of the Week starring Darren McGavin, Broderick Crawford and James Whitmore. The telefilm, which centered on the idea that countries could avoid war by choosing one soldier on each side to fight it out, was the first produced film written by future Academy Award winner Marc Norman (Shakespeare in Love).

Cipes was born Dec. 14, 1926, in Mount Vernon, N.Y. After graduating with a degree in English from Cornell University, he completed midshipmen’s school at Columbia University and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1978.

Survivors include his first wife Rita and his wife of 45 years Arianne (her father was Edgar G. Ulmer, who directed such films as the Boris Karloff starrer The Black Cat); his children Andrew, David and Nancy; his stepson Davide; his brother Robert; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA.