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Longtime Producer Of Acclaimed Films Dies Pandro S. Berman’s Movie Career Spanned Four Hollywood Decades

Sun., July 14, 1996

Pandro S. Berman, who during a career that spanned four decades produced such acclaimed films as “Top Hat,” “Morning Glory” and “The Blackboard Jungle,” died Saturday. He was 91.

Berman died of congestive heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills, said grandson Cory Schaffel.

The casts of Berman’s films were a who’s who of Hollywood from the 1930s through the ‘60s: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Kelly and Sidney Poitier, among others.

Berman, who received the motion picture academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1977 Oscar awards, began his studio career at age 18.

His many films ranged from the 1930s Astaire-Rogers dance favorites “The Gay Divorcee,” “Swing Time,” and “Shall We Dance,” to Katharine Hepburn’s Oscar-winning performance in “Morning Glory” and “Of Human Bondage,” the 1934 drama that made Bette Davis a star.

In the late 1930s, Berman made “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara, and “Gunga Din,” with Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Elizabeth Taylor went from childhood to Oscar-winning actress in Berman films including “National Velvet,” “Father of the Bride,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Butterfield 8.”

In the 1950s, Berman produced the gritty urban story “The Blackboard Jungle” starring Sidney Poitier and Glenn Ford.

His last major film was “Move,” a 1970 drama starring Elliott Gould and Paula Prentiss.

Berman is survived by daughters Susan and Cynthia, and son Michael, all of Beverly Hills; and several grandchildren. He was divorced from his children’s mother, Viola, but later remarried. His wife Kathryn died in 1993.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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