Ben Gannon (producer)
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After schooling at Melbourne's Xavier College, Gannon graduated from the then Production course of the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1970. He then worked at the Queensland Theatre Company before stage-managing the original Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar for Harry M. Miller Attractions. This was followed by eight years in London where Gannon was Company Manager of Hair in the West End, and worked as a Theatrical Agent at the American Talent Agency, ICM, before forming his own Talent Agency, representing actors, writers, directors, and designers.
Gannon returned to Australia in 1980 and was appointed General Manager of Associated R & R Films, the Robert Stigwood/Rupert Murdoch joint venture which produced the acclaimed film Gallipoli, of which he was Associate Producer. After forming his own production company, View Films, he produced two mini-series Shout! The Story of Johnny O'Keefe (starring Terry Serio) and Shadow of the Cobra (starring Rachel Ward and Art Malik).
He produced the award-winning films Travelling North (starring Leo McKern), Sweet Talker (starring Bryan Brown and Karen Allen), The Girl Who Came Late – also known as Daydream Believer – (starring Miranda Otto and Martin Kemp), Hammers Over the Anvil (starring Charlotte Rampling and Russell Crowe), and The Man Who Sued God (starring Billy Connolly and Judy Davis).
His film The Heartbreak Kid, based on the play by Richard Barrett, was the catalyst for his award-winning television series Heartbreak High. This proved to be one of Australia's most successful television exports ever, being sold to 80 countries, and eventually running to 210 hours.
Believing that there was a stage musical in the life and compositions of the Australian songwriter/performer Peter Allen, he commissioned a book,Peter Allen: The Boy From Oz, and then produced a documentary of the same name for ABC Television.
In 1998 he co-produced with London producer, Robert Fox, Australia's highest-grossing theatre production The Boy from Oz, with book by Nick Enright, and directed by Gale Edwards – which was successfully presented on Broadway, receiving a 2004 Tony Award nomination for Best Musical, and winning the Tony for Best Male Performer in a Musical for its star, Hugh Jackman.
He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2006 For service to the performing arts as a producer contributing to the development of film, television, and theatre in Australia, and in promoting Australian productions and talented actors overseas, and to the community.
He died on 4 January 2007, aged 54, following a long battle with cancer.[where?]