Puttnam, David Terence 1941-

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PUTTNAM, David Terence 1941-


Born February 25, 1941, in Southgate, England; son of Leonard Arthur (a photographer) and Marie Beatrix (a homemaker) Puttnam; married Patricia Mary Jones, 1961; children: Sasha, Debbie. Hobbies and other interests: Watching cricket, going to movies.


Office—House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW, England.


Film producer and civil servant. Worked for an advertising agency, 1958-66, and as a photographers' agent, 1966-68; Enigma Productions, London, England, founder and producer, 1968—. Producer of films, including, Melody, Levitt-Pickman, 1971; The Pied Piper, Paramount, 1972; Swastika (documentary), Black Inc., 1973; Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (documentary), Dimension Pictures, 1974; That'll Be the Day, EMI, 1974; Stardust, Columbia, 1974; James Dean, the First American Teenager (documentary), Visual Progamme Systems, 1975; Lisztomania, Warner Brothers, 1975; The Duellist,Paramount, 1977; Midnight Express, Columbia, 1978; Foxes, United Artists, 1980; Chariots of Fire, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1981; Local Hero, Warner Brothers, 1983; The Killing Fields, Warner Brothers, 1984; Cal, Warner Brothers, 1985; The Mission, Warner Brothers, 1986; Memphis Belle, Warner Brothers, 1990; and Meeting Venus, Warner Brothers, 1991.

Executive producer of films, including Mahler, New Line Cinema, 1973; The Last Days of Man on Earth, New World, 1973; Bugsy Malone, Paramount, 1976; Secrets, Samuel Goldwyn, 1982; Kipperbang, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1982; Sharma and Beyond, Cinecom, 1983; Red Monarch, Enigma, 1983; Winter Flight, Cinecom, 1984; Forever Young, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1984; Mr. Love, Warner Brothers, 1985; The Frog Prince, Warner Brothers, 1985; Defence of the Realm, Warner Brothers, 1985; Arthur's Hallowed Ground, Cinecom, 1985; and Knights and Emeralds, Warner Brothers, 1986.

Executive producer of television programs, including The Josephine Baker Story, HBO, 1991; Without Warning: The James Brady Story, HBO, 1991; "A Dangerous Man: Lawrence after Arabia," Great Performances, PBS, 1992; and The Burning Season, HBO, 1995.

National Film and Television School, governor, 1974-88, chair, 1988-96; National Film Finance Corp., director, 1980-85; Anglia Television Group, director, beginning 1982; Bristol University, visiting professor of film, 1986-97; Columbia Pictures, chair and chief executive officer, 1986-87; ITEL International (television distribution agency), chair, 1988—; Survival Anglia, director, 1988—; London School of Economics and Political Science, governor and visiting lecturer, 1997—; National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts, chair; National Museum of Photography, Film, and Television, chair; UNICEF (UK), president, 2002—; served on Cinema Films Council and governing council of British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Council for the Protection of Rural England, president, 1985-92; Tate Gallery, trustee, 1985-92.


Royal Geographic Society, Royal Photographic Society, Royal Society of Arts, Engineering Council Senate, Marylebone Cricket Club.


Jury Award, Cannes Film festival, 1977, for The Duellists; Academy Award nomination for best picture, 1978, for Midnight Express, and 1984, for The Killing Fields; Michael Balcon Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1981, for outstanding contribution to British film industry; Academy Award for best picture, 1982, for Chariots of Fire; decorated Commander, Order of the British Empire, 1982;, Academy Award nomination for best picture, and Palme d'Or, Cannes Film Festival, both 1986, both for The Mission; Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France), decorated Chevalier, 1986, Officier, 1991; Eastman Second Century Award, Eastman Board of Governors, 1988, for "ongoing contributions to the development of young talent in the movie business;" Emmy Award for outstanding drama/comedy special and miniseries, 1991, for The Josephine Baker Story; CableACE Award nomination for best movie or miniseries, 1992, for Without Warning: The James Brady Story; LL.D., Bristol University, 1983; Litt.D. Leicester University, 1986; fellow, Manchester Polytechnic, 1989; honorary fellow, Chartered Society of Designers; LL.D., University of Leeds, 1992; Knighthood, Order of the British Empire, 1995; Benjamin Franklin medal, Royal Society of Arts, 1996; chancellor, University of Sunderland.


(With Derrik Mercer) Rural England: Our Countryside at the Crossroads, Macdonald (London, England), 1982.

(With Robert Angell) How to Make It in Films and TV, How To Books, 1991.

(With G. J. Mellor) Movie Makers and Picture Palaces: A Century of Cinema in Yorkshire 1896-1996, Bradford Arts, 1996.

(With Neil Watson) The Undeclared War: The Struggle for Control of the World's Film Industry, Harper-Collins (London, England), 1997, published as Movies and Money, Knopf (New York, NY), 1998.

Contributor to The Third Age of Broadcasting, edited by Brian Wenham, Faber & Faber (New York, NY), 1982. Contributor of articles and reviews to New Statesman & Society.


David Terrence Puttnam is a media giant who has had a presence in the film and television industry for over thirty years. He began as a photographer's agent but soon found his way into film production by way of his company, Enigma Productions. His film production credits include Midnight Express, Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields, and Bugsy Malone. He made history when he became the first European head of a major Hollywood Studio. Puttnam was chair and CEO of Columbia Pictures from 1986-87 and after his departure, he produced successful television movies, including The Josephine Baker Story and Without Warning: The James Brady Story, both for Home Box Office. Puttnam is the recipient of the most prestigious awards in his field, including an Academy Award for best picture for Chariots of Fire, an Emmy award for The Josephine Baker Story, and Cannes' coveted Palme d'Or for The Mission. His achievements have also garnered praise outside the entertainment industry; Puttnam was knighted by the Order of the British Empire in 1995, appointed to the House of Lords in 1997, and decorated as a chevalier in the French Ordre des Artes et des Lettres in 1986, being promoted to Officier in 1991. He retired from film production in 1998 to give his full attention to work in education. He has been awarded over twenty honorary degrees and has held visiting lecturer, professor and chancellor positions at a number of British universities. He is also very active in public bodies; he is chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, vice president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and a trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Puttnam's book, Movies and Money, is an insider's perspective about the struggle of European films trying to compete against Hollywood. Published in England as The Undeclared War: The Struggle for Control of the World's Film Industry, the book is "friendly toward Hollywood," according to Cineaste contributor Carl Bromley. In the work Puttnam chronologically explores the century-long history of film and the battles that have taken place between America and Europe for control of production and consumption of films; Puttnam argues that a good deal of Hollywood's success should be credited to the U.S. government for enacting beneficial legislation for the studios and being a major player in ensuring Hollywood's success outside U.S. borders. Bromley noted that the book is "satisfactory and told with intelligence" even though it is "weighed down by a self-importance that is wearying." D. W. Ellwood, writing in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, observed that, "Engaging and lucidly written.… This absorbing and challenging book [is] too long on the early years, too short on the war and post-war phases." Ellwood continued, however, that "Whenever the author is drawing on history to make points about the contemporary scene, or even better, when he is drawing on direct experience, the narrative is at its best." David Rouse, in Booklist, felt that Puttnam "raises interesting questions along the way, particularly whether American entertainment will continue to dominate new forms of technology."



Booklist, October 1, 1998, David Rouse, review of Movies and Money, p. 297.

Cineaste, winter, 1999, Carl Bromley, review of Movies and Money, p. 57.

Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, June, 1999, D. W. Ellwood, review of Money and Movies, pp. 257-260.

Publishers Weekly, August 17, 1998, review of Money and Movies, p. 55.*