Bert Schneider

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Bert Schneider
Born Berton Schneider
(1933-05-05)May 5, 1933
New York City, New York, United States
Died December 12, 2011(2011-12-12) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Cause of death
Natural causes
Alma mater Cornell University
Spouse(s) Judith (divorced); three subesquent marriages
Children Two (with Judith)
Parents Abraham Schneider
Relatives Harold Schneider (brother)

Berton "Bert" Schneider (May 5, 1933 – December 12, 2011) was an American film and television producer.

He was responsible for several important and topical films of the late 1960s and early 1970s,[1] including the road film Easy Rider (1969), directed by Dennis Hopper.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born Berton Schneider in New York City, New York,[2] the son of one-time Columbia Pictures president Abraham Schneider.

The younger Schneider tended toward the rebellious politics of the day. Briefly a student at Cornell University, located in Ithaca, New York, he was expelled.[3][4]

His brother, Harold Schneider, also became a film producer.

Career[edit]

In the early 1960s, he worked for Screen Gems, Columbia's television division. In 1965, Schneider formed a partnership with the film director Bob Rafelson, creating Raybert Productions. The duo brought to television The Monkees (1966–1968), a situation comedy about a fictional rock band (who became a real group, The Monkees, to meet public demand, and their own aspirations).

The success of The Monkees allowed Schneider and Rafelson to break into feature films, first with the counterculture film Head (1968), starring The Monkees, directed by Rafelson and featuring a screenplay co-written by Rafelson and Jack Nicholson. The film bombed in its initial release due to poor distribution and the lack of a target audience for 1968.[5] Monkees fans were disappointed that the disjointed, stream-of-consciousness ring of stories was not just an expanded episode. Art film enthusiasts may have embraced its creativity but were not interested in a film by the "pre-fab four." [5] In recent years, the film has received above average reviews from critics and fans alike as an interesting 1960s period piece.[5]

They had their first major success with Easy Rider, which ushered in the era of New Hollywood. Then followed with the drama film Five Easy Pieces (1970), which Rafelson directed.

Following Five Easy Pieces, Schneider and Rafelson added a partner, Stephen Blauner, and Raybert turned into BBS Productions.

They subsequently made a series of films, including the drama films The Last Picture Show (1971), directed by Peter Bogdanovich and The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), directed by Rafelson. In 1975 he was a member of the jury at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival.[6]

Academy Award controversy[edit]

In 1975, Schneider received an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for producing Hearts and Minds (1974), a documentary film about the Vietnam War, directed by Peter Davis.[7] His acceptance speech was one of the most politically controversial in Oscar history. Schneider's speech included this statement: "It’s ironic that we’re here at a time just before Vietnam is about to be liberated." He then read a telegram from the head of the North Vietnamese delegation to the Paris peace talks. It thanked the antiwar movement "for all they have done on behalf of peace. Greetings of friendship to all American people." After receiving thousands of angry telegrams backstage, Frank Sinatra appeared later in the show to read a disclaimer that disavowed Schneider's statement, which in turn provoked angry responses from actors Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty. Beatty later berated Sinatra on stage, calling him "you old Republican."[8]

Death[edit]

He died of natural causes, aged 78, in Los Angeles, California. He was survived by his son and daughter.[9][10][11]

In popular culture[edit]

Peter Fonda based his character, Terry Valentine, in the crime film The Limey (1999) partly on Schneider, according to Fonda's interview on the film's DVD.

Filmography and television work[edit]

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Year Title Genre Notes
1966–1968 The Monkees television situation comedy
1968 Head
1969 Easy Rider road film producer
1970 Five Easy Pieces drama film
1971 The Last Picture Show drama film
1971 Drive, He Said drama film
1971 A Safe Place drama film
1972 The King of Marvin Gardens drama film
1974 Hearts and Minds documentary film
1978 Days of Heaven drama film
1981 Broken English drama film

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elaine Woo (2011-12-14). "Bert Schneider obituary: 'Easy Rider' producer dies at 78 - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Ronald Bergan. "Bert Schneider obituary | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  4. ^ "R.I.P. Bert Schneider". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  5. ^ a b c "Head (1968)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  6. ^ "9th Moscow International Film Festival (1975)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  7. ^ Anita Gates. "Bert Schneider, Producer Whose Films Reflected an Era, Dies at 78". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  8. ^ "Politics and Oscar Night". The Nation. 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  9. ^ "Bert Schneider, Producer of Counterculture Film Classics, Dies at 78". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  10. ^ "‘Easy Rider’ and ‘Hearts and Minds’ producer Bert Schneider dies at 78 - The Boston Globe". Articles.boston.com. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  11. ^ "Bert Schneider". Telegraph. 2011-12-14. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 

External links[edit]