Lawrence Turman, the longtime Hollywood producer who received an Academy Award nomination for the 1967 classic “The Graduate,” died Saturday at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, Calif. at 96, Variety reported. A cause of death was not given.
A UCLA graduate, Turman began producing movies in the 1960s, with films including “The Young Doctors,” starring Ben Gazzara, “I Could Go On Singing,” starring Judy Garland, and “The Best Man” starring Henry Fonda.
“The Graduate,” the comedy-drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and Mike Nichols, who was tabbed by Turman, won for Best Director.
“Every studio turned it down,” Turman told the Post in 2017. “They read the book and hated it, and no one thought it was funny.”
It’s also the film that made Hoffman a star though Turman admitted the casting wasn’t an obvious decision.
“Truth be told, we didn’t jump up and down and say, ‘Wow, Dustin! That’s our guy!’ After watching six [screen] tests in a row, I turned to Mike and said, ‘I think I’d be OK with Dustin and Katharine [Ross].’ Mike didn’t say a word, walked to the door, and said, ‘Yeah, me too,’” Turman recalled.
In the 1970s, Turman began producing with David Foster.
The Turman/Foster Company produced for decades despite the duo being dissimilar.
“That’s why it works,” Turman told the LA Times in 1994. “One of the beauties of our partnership is we don’t have to agree.”
“Larry is the opera and the symphony,” Foster said. “I like to go to the football game and scream and carry on.”
Among the movies they produced were the 1975 thriller “The Drowning Pool,” starring Paul Newman, the 1982 sci-fi classic “The Thing,” the 1984 drama “Mass Appeal,” starring Jack Lemmon, the 1986 comedy “Running Scared,” starring Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines, and the 1998 drama “American History X,” starring Edward Norton.
Turman served as the director of The Peter Stark Producing Program at USC and is a member of the Producers Guild Hall of Fame.
He is survived by three sons, four grandchildren and two nieces, according to Variety.
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