Mirisch Brothers, Harold (1907–1968), Marvin (1918–2002), and Walter (1921– )

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MIRISCH BROTHERS, HAROLD (1907–1968), MARVIN (1918–2002), and WALTER (1921– )

MIRISCH BROTHERS, HAROLD (1907–1968), MARVIN (1918–2002), and WALTER (1921– ), U.S. film producers. Born in New York, the Mirisch brothers became a team in 1952, when they joined Allied Artists as executives. They wanted to produce high-quality films by giving a free hand to independent filmmakers, but Allied dropped the plan after two productions, so in 1957 the brothers set up their own company. They envisioned the Mirisch Company as a haven for independent filmmakers who did not want to deal with the business aspect of an independent production company. The brothers signed a 12-picture deal with United Artists in 1957, which was extended to 20 films two years later. The Mirisch Company moved to the Samuel Goldwyn Studios, where they became the largest tenant. Many actors, directors, and other producers enjoyed stability and creative autonomy under the canopy of the Mirisch Company. In 1969 Walter Mirisch was named president and executive head of production of the Mirisch Corporation.

The Mirisch brothers scored an immediate success with their first film, Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959). The company' subsequent films included The Apartment (1960), The Magnificent Seven (1960), By Love Possessed (1961), West Side Story (1961), The Children's Hour (1962), Two for the Seesaw (1962), The Great Escape (1963), Toys in the Attic (1963), The Pink Panther (1964), The Russians Are Coming (1966), Hawaii (1966), In the Heat of the Night (Academy Award winner for Best Picture, 1967), Fitzwilly (1967), They Call Me Mr. Tibbs (1970), The Organization (1971), Scorpio (1973), Mr. Majestyk (1974), Midway (1976), Gray Lady Down (1977), Same Time Next Year (1978), The Prisoner of Zenda (1979), Dracula (1979), Romantic Comedy (1983), Lily in Winter (1994), and the tv series The Magnificent Seven (1998).

Walter Mirisch was president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1973 through 1978. In 1978 the Academy awarded him the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award, and in 1983 he received the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

[Jonathan Licht /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]