Daniel Melnick, former head of production at MGM and Columbia studios, has died aged 77. He won two Emmys in the 1960’s for John Gielgud’s Ages of Man and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and was also EP for the original TV series of Get Smart.
As a film producer, he started with a bang in 1971 with Sam Peckinpah’s loved and hated Straw Dogs.
While at Columbia, he developed several films considered controversial in their day, including Midnight Express, setting Turkey’s then-infant tourist industry back some years; The China Syndrome, doing wonders for nuclear power’s public image; Bob Fosse’s depressing and ultimately prophetic All That Jazz; and divorce drama Kramer vs. Kramer.
In the 1980’s he produced Ken Russell’s Altered State’s, Steve Martin’s revisioning of Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxanne and the movie that made Kenny Loggins a one-hit wonder and almost convinced the world a white boy could dance, Footloose.
Melnick died having recently undergone surgery after a battle with lung cancer.