Lawrence Turman, a highly respected and principled Hollywood producer, known for his work on the classic film “The Graduate” and other notable movies, has passed away at the age of 96. Turman, who received an Oscar nomination for his role in producing “The Graduate,” also worked on films such as “American History X,” “Pretty Poison,” and the final movie featuring Judy Garland.
On Saturday, Turman’s family sadly announced his passing at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills. Prior to his successful career as a producer, Turman started as an agent. In 1974, he formed a partnership with producer David Foster, which lasted for 20 years. Their collaboration led to the creation of the Turman Foster Co., with their first film being “The Drowning Pool” in 1975, starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
In 1991, Turman decided to embark on a different path and began heading the prestigious Peter Stark Producing Program at USC. This association continued until his retirement in 2021. However, retirement did not stop Turman from producing. In 1996, he joined forces with John Morrissey to establish the Turman-Morrissey Co., which produced films such as “Booty Call” starring Jamie Foxx, “American History X” directed by Tony Kaye, and “Kingdom Come” featuring LL Cool J.
In addition to producing, Turman also ventured into directing. He directed and produced two films: “The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker” in 1971, starring Richard Benjamin, and “Second Thoughts” in 1983, starring Lucie Arnaz. Throughout his career, Turman was involved in the production of more than 30 movies and nearly a dozen telefilms.
Turman believed in the power of initiating and driving film projects. In his book “So You Want to Be a Producer,” he expressed his role as both the starter and finisher of the films he worked on. Turman’s dedication to his craft and his ability to bring stories to life earned him a place in the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame.
One of Turman’s notable achievements was his instrumental role in the creation of “The Graduate.” Despite initial struggles to find financial support for the film, Turman’s perseverance paid off when he secured the rights to Charles Webb’s novel for $1,000. He then approached director Mike Nichols, who was relatively unknown in the film industry at the time. Nichols agreed to direct the film, and with the casting of Dustin Hoffman, “The Graduate” became a massive success, grossing $35 million in its first six months and receiving seven Academy Award nominations.
Turman’s passion for filmmaking extended beyond his own projects. He had a profound respect for writers and their contributions to the industry. Throughout his career, he fostered friendships with notable writers such as William Goldman, and their exchanges reflected a shared desire to capture the essence of their generation through storytelling.
Born in Los Angeles, Turman pursued his dreams of becoming a Hollywood producer despite the challenges he faced. He started in the garment business but eventually found his way into the entertainment industry. His journey taught him valuable lessons about resilience and determination.
Turman’s departure signifies the conclusion of a significant era in the world of Hollywood filmmaking. His dedication, integrity, and commitment to storytelling have left an indelible mark on the industry. A memorial service honoring Turman’s life will take place at the Motion Picture home, and contributions in his name can be made to The Larry Turman Endowed Fund for the Peter Stark Program at USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Lawrence Turman’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations of filmmakers, and his contributions to the art of cinema will be remembered for years to come.