Stephen J. Friedman (producer)

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Stephen J. Friedman
Born (1937-03-15)March 15, 1937
Brooklyn, New York
Died October 4, 1996(1996-10-04) (aged 59)

Stephen J. Friedman (March 15, 1937 – October 4, 1996) was an American film producer known for The Last Picture Show (1971) and The Big Easy (1988). In 1980 he formed Kings Road Entertainment[1]—named after the West Hollywood street where he lived—, making him one of the first independent film producers to raise substantial film funding through a publicly traded company.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Friedman graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and then obtained a law degree at Harvard University. He began his legal career with the Federal Trade Commission,[1] then went to work as an entertainment attorney for Columbia Pictures and Paramount Studios.[2]

Anxious to be a producer, Friedman acquired the film rights to the 1966 novel The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry. The film was nominated for eight Oscars, including the Academy Award for Best Picture. Three years later he scripted and produced Lovin' Molly, also adapted from a McMurtry novel, and followed this with producing credits on Slap Shot (1977), Fast Break (1979), Hero at Large (1980), Little Darlings (1980), The Incubus (1981), and Eye of the Needle (1981).

Friedman's first film produced in conjunction with Kings Road Entertainment was All of Me with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin. Additional credits at Kings Road include The Best of Times (1986) with Robin Williams and Kurt Russell, The Big Easy (1987, nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Film) with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin, Jacknife (1989) with Robert De Niro and Ed Harris, and Kickboxer (1989) with Jean-Claude Van Damme. His final project was Mother (1996) with Albert Brooks and Debbie Reynolds.

Friedman died of multiple myeloma at home in Brentwood, California at the age of 59.[2]

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