Howard Gottfried, who was known for producing the Academy Award-winning film Network died December 8 in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from a stroke. He was 94.
Gottfried was a graduate of the City College of New York and then NYU School of Law. He began practicing law in New York. While there, he dove into the world of the arts, producing live theatre off-Broadway.
Gottfried eventually became an executive at United Artists, where he oversaw the company’s involvement in shows like Gilligan’s Island, The Patty Duke Show, and The Fugitive. He then moved on to Ed Sullivan Productions where he oversaw development, which is where his wife Mary Lynn Gottfried.
Gottfried produced many films with his first being 1971’s The Hospital starring George C. Scott and Diana Rigg and directed by Arthur Hiller from a script written by soon-to-be frequent collaborator Paddy Chayefsky. From there he went on to produce Network in 1976. The film directed by Sidney Lumet went on to earn 10 Academy Award nominations including one for Gottfried for Best Picture. Of the 10, it won four including Best Actor for Peter Finch, Best Actress Faye Dunaway, Best Supporting Actress Beatrice Straight, and Best Screenplay for Chayefsky. Finch’s character Howard Beale was named after Gottfried. In 2002, he earned the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame Award for the acclaimed film.
Gottfried’s other credits include 1980’s Altered States starring William Hurt and 1988’s Torch Song Trilogy starring Anne Bancroft, Matthew Broderick, and Harvey Fierstein.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Lynn Gottfried (formerly Mary Lynn Shapiro), his daughters, Norah Weinstein and Elizabeth Colling, his sons-in-law, Brian Weinstein and Stephane Colling and his grandchildren, Sloane and Graham Weinstein and Celeste and Paloma Colling.