Irving Saraf

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Irving Saraf (1932 – December 26, 2012) was a Polish-born American film producer, film editor, film director and academic. Saraf won an Academy Award for producing the 1991 documentary film, In the Shadow of the Stars.[1] In total, Saraf had more than one hundred fifty film and television production credits. His resume included Poland, Communism's New Look, a 1965 television film; USA Poetry: Twelve Films About Modern Poets in 1966; and the 2009 documentary Empress Hotel following the residents of a low-income hotel in Tenderloin, San Francisco.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Saraf was born in Poland and raised in Israel.[1] He emigrated to the United States in 1952, settling in San Francisco.[1] He was married to his second wife, producer Allie Light, for 38 years.[1] Light and Saraf formed a professional production partnership beginning in 1981.[1] Saraf received a Bachelor of Arts in motion pictures from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[1] In addition to producing, Saraf taught film production at San Francisco State University.[1]

Saraf founded the film division of KQED, a PBS channel in San Francisco.[1] He also worked as the manager of the production company, Fantasy Films, owned by film producer, Saul Zaentz.[1] Saraf produced many films with Zaentz, including as the post production supervisor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.[1]

In 1995, Light and Saraf were jointly nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy for their work on the PBS show, Dialogues with Madwomen.[1]

Irving Saraf died of complications from three years of Lou Gehrig's disease at his home in San Francisco on December 26, 2012, at the age of 80.[1] He was survived by his second wife of 38 years, Allie Light; six children – Peter, Michal, Ilana, Alexis, Charles and Julia; and eight grandchildren.[1] Peter Saraf is an Academy Award nominated producer whose credits include Adaptation (2002), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), and Our Idiot Brother (2011).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Barnes, Mike (December 30, 2012). "Oscar-Winning Producer Irving Saraf Dies at 80". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 15, 2013.

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