Actor, 'Monster' creator dies at 91

Mark Damon, who starred in the Vincent Price horror classic house of usher and Spaghetti Westerns before revolutionizing foreign sales and distribution in the film business and also included the production of more features 9 1/2 weeks, Demon And lone survivor, has died. He was 91 years old.

Damon died of natural causes in Los Angeles on Sunday, his daughter Alexis Damon Riboud said. hollywood reporter,

Damon spent the first 20 years of his career as an actor, including nearly a dozen years as a leading man in Italian action films, before moving into the commercial arena.

As an executive producer he had early success with two films written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen: the German-language World War II drama Das Boot (1981), which received six Oscar nominations, and never ending story (1984), a big-budget fantasy film that featured Giorgio Moroder's Damon-commissioned score for non-German audiences.

She shared the Independent Spirit Award with director Patty Jenkins and others Demon (2003), in which Charlize Theron played the Oscar-winning role of real-life serial killer Eileen Wuornos.

Damon produced nearly five dozen feature films during his career, including Adrian Lyne 9 1/2 weeks (1986), John Badham short circuit (1986), Joel Schumacher the Lost Boys (1987), stalingrad (1993), the jungle Book (1994), Trey Parker orgasm (1997), a dog of flanders (1999), the flip side of anger (2005), Baltasar Kormákur's 2 guns (2013), by Peter Berg lone survivor (2013), final solution (2019) and Willy's Wonderland (2021).

Born Alan Harris in Chicago on April 22, 1933, Damon attended Fairfax High School and UCLA in Los Angeles, studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Sanford Meisner, and worked with Jack Nicholson.

He had a big year as an actor in 1956, when he signed with C.B.S. starred in. Alfred Hitchcock Presents and in movies inside detroit, screaming eagles and Richard Fletcher between heaven and hell,

He achieved the status of leading man with graduation young and dangerous (1957) and party crashers (1958) – both opposite Connie Stevens – plus life starts at 17 (1958), this rebellious breed (1960) and then A.I.P. house of usher (1960), from producer-director Roger Corman.

For his performance as the fiancé of a woman (Myrna Fahey) whose neurotic brother (Price) tries desperately to stop them from marrying, Damon received a Golden Globe for Most Promising Male Newcomer.

When he was 28, he went to Italy and recruited Westerners. “I was surprised, because I had never ridden a horse in my life,” he said in a 2014 interview. “Cowboys have to be tall and fair, and I'm not that tall. My hair was very dark at the time, but he said, 'It doesn't matter. you are American.' I said okay and learned to ride the horse.”

He starred in Sergio Corbucci's Italy shortest day (1963), Mario Bava's black Sabbath (1963), cleopatra's son (1964), secret agent 777 (1965), ringo and his golden pistol (1966), johnny yuma (1966), a train to durango (1968), young, wicked and wild (1968), pistol packing preacher (1971), crypt of the living dead (1973) and Bang, and the angels sing (1974).

Ringo and His Golden Pistol (aka Johnny Oro), Mark Damon, 1966.

Mark Damon in 'Ringo and His Golden Pistol', 1966

Courtesy Everett Collection

When Damon found himself typecast and outmatched by Westerns, he left acting to pursue something else and in 1975 took a job with an Italian film distributor, earning $1,000 a month. He said, “They really wanted me because they thought I knew everybody in Hollywood and could get them the big pictures.”

At the time, the major American studios handled foreign sales, but he believed that local companies could get more box office from the films.

“An independent distributor abroad who is investing his own money in a film will fight very hard to realize that picture, not only in the major cities but also in the provinces, because his own money is at stake.” he told producer/podcaster Matthew Helderman in 2020. “Big companies have their employees who are only interested in their salaries.”

Damon said it took him about seven years to finally prove that independents could outperform studios.

He returned to the US in 1977 and founded the production and sales company Producers Sales Organization. next Das Boot And never ending storyPSO handles foreign sales of Martin Scorsese king of comedy (1982) and 's once Upon a Time in America (1984).

After PSO went bankrupt, he, together with John Peters and Peter Gubar, founded Vision International in 1987, which was eventually sold to Crédit Lyonnaise. In 1993, Damon launched MDP Worldwide, a production, sales and distribution organization, which went public; A decade later, it became Media 8 Entertainment, then it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012.

In 1980, he was one of the founders of the American Film Marketing Association, now known as the Independent Film & Television Alliance, and published a book, From Cowboy to Mogul to Monster: The Neverending Story of Film Pioneer Mark Damonin 2008.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his second wife, actress Margaret Markov, whom he married in October 1976 – they had first met when he acted in arena (1974), which he produced with Corman – his son, Jonathan; and his son-in-law, Matthew.

“My claim to fame would be the fact that I became what they call the Godfather of independent films, coming from originally an acting background. Who invented the foreign sales business. The one who invented the way to finance movies,” Damon said in Luke Ford's 2004 book, Creator: Profile in Desperation,

“How did anyone do what I did? Because I didn't know any better. I came in with such a fresh perspective because I was an actor and didn't know anything.

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