Arthur Manson, a film executive whose career in marketing and distribution included numerous Oscar-winning films and ran from Hollywood’s Golden Age until his retirement last year, died peacefully Monday at his home in Riverdale, NY, his daughter Cynthia Manson said. He was 90.
Born in Brooklyn in 1928, Manson served in the Army immediately after World War II in Allied-occupied Germany, where he was a reporter for Stars and Stripes. He followed his brother Alan into the entertainment business as advance agent for Laurence Olivier’s legendary 1940s version of Henry V.
In a career that spanned nearly 70 years, Manson worked for and with such Hollywood’s studios as Warner Bros, MGM, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Dino De Laurentiis, Samuel Goldwyn Productions and Stanley Kramer Productions and was responsible for the worldwide rollout of Stanley Warner’s ultrawide-screen Cinerama films.
He worked on the marketing and distribution of three Best Picture winners spanning three decades — Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Platoon (1986) — and Best Picture nominees The Cider House Rules (1999), JFK (1991) and All the President’s Men (1976). Other credits include Cinema Paradiso, The Great Santini and Angela’s Ashes.
Manson rose to VP Marketing and Distribution for Warner Bros Worldwide in 1976, overseeing the marketing of All the President’s Men, the Barbra Streisand-Kris Kristofferson version of A Star Is Born and Clint Eastwood’s third Dirty Harry film The Enforcer, among others.
Manson later founded his own consulting company, Cinemax Marketing and Distribution Corporation, with offices in New York and Los Angeles. The company was later renamed CineManson. In that role, he consulted with Oliver Stone, Scott Rudin, The Kennedy/Marshall Company and the Weinstein brothers, among others.
Manson also founded the New York events committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He hosted the annual Oscar Night party in New York and served as chairman of the events committee from 1989-2004.
Along with daughter Cynthia and her husband Jeffrey Faville and their children James and Catherine, Manson is survived by a son, Anthony Sando Manson; his wife, Angela North Manson; and their children, Daniel, William and Timothy. A private service for immediate family and friends is set for Wednesday. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Calvary Fund.