Pandro Samuel Berman (March 28, 1905 – July 13, 1996), known as Pandro S. Berman, was an Academy Award-winning American film producer.
His father Henry was general manager of Universal Pictures during Hollywood's formative years. The younger Berman (Pan to his friends) spent most of the 1920s as an assistant director, learning the business from such masters as Mal St. Clair and Tod Browning.
In 1930, Berman was hired as a film editor at fledgling RKO Radio Pictures, then became an assistant producer. When RKO supervising producer William LeBaron walked out during production of the ill-fated The Gay Diplomat (1931), Berman took over LeBaron's responsibilities, remaining in the driver's seat until 1939. He managed to survive David O. Selznick’s general firing of most of the staff, the independent producer recognising something in Berman that warranted making him his assistant.
During the Berman regime, the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals hit their peak, Katharine Hepburn rose to prominence, and such RKO classics as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Gunga Din (both 1939) came to fruition. Berman was willing to give creative people plenty of elbow room, but there were limits; having been coaxed by Katharine Hepburn and director George Cukor to push through production of the 1936 film Sylvia Scarlett, Berman reacted to the poor audience response to that film (the worst in RKO's history) by telling Hepburn and Cukor that he never wanted to see their faces again!
Upset when an RKO power-play diminished his authority, Berman left for MGM in 1940, where he oversaw such productions as Ziegfeld Girl (1941), National Velvet (1944), The Bribe (1949), Father of the Bride (1950), Blackboard Jungle (1955) and BUtterfield 8 (1960). He survived several executive shake-ups at MGM and remained there until 1963, then went into independent production, closing out his career with the unsuccessful Move (1970).
The winner of the 1976 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award (Berman was considered to be RKO’s equivalent of Thalberg during the 30s), Pandro S. Berman became a sort of guru to film historians in his twilight years, providing crystal-clear insights into the day-to-day operations of the old Hollywood Studio System.
Berman died of congestive heart failure on Saturday, July 13, 1996 in his Beverly Hills home; he was 91.
Six of his films were unsuccessfully nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture: The Gay Divorcee (1934), Alice Adams and Top Hat (both 1935), Stage Door (1937), Father of the Bride (1950), and Ivanhoe (1952).
One Man's Journey (1933)
The Little Minister (1934)
The Gay Divorcee (1934)
Of Human Bondage (1934; Bette Davis)
Alice Adams (1935)
Top Hat (1935)
Mary of Scotland (1936)
Shall We Dance? (1937; uncredited)
Stage Door (1937)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939; Charles Laughton)
Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
Rio Rita (1942)
Dragon Seed (1944)
National Velvet (1944)
Song of Russia (1944; uncredited)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945; Hurd Hatfield)
The Three Musketeers (1948)
The Bribe (1949)
Madame Bovary (1949)
Father of the Bride (1950; Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett)
The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
Knights of the Round Table (1953)
The Long, Long Trailer (1954)
Blackboard Jungle (1955)
Bhowani Junction (1956)
Tea and Sympathy (1956)
Jailhouse Rock (1957)
The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
The Reluctant Debutante (1958)
BUtterfield 8 (1960)
Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)
A Patch of Blue (1965)
Internet Movie Database
Pandro Berman's Gravesite
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Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandro_S._Berman"
Categories: American film producers | People from Pittsburgh | Deaths from cardiovascular disease | 1905 births | 1996 deaths
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