May 31, 1929|
Tiberias, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel)
August 8, 2014 (aged 85)|
Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
|Other names||Joseph Goldman|
|Known for||Founder of Golan-Globus/The Cannon Group|
Menahem Golan (Hebrew: מנחם גולן; May 31, 1929 – August 8, 2014) was an Oscar nominated Israeli film producer, screenwriter, and director. He was best known for co-owning The Cannon Group with his cousin Yoram Globus. Cannon specialized in producing low-to-mid budget American films, primarily genre films, during the 1980s after Golan and Globus had achieved significant filmmaking success in their native Israel during the 1970s.
Golan produced movies featuring actors such as Sean Connery, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Charles Bronson, and for a period, was known as a producer of comic book-style movies like Masters of the Universe, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Captain America, and his aborted attempt to bring Spider-Man to the silver screen. Golan also wrote and "polished" numerous film scripts under the pen name Joseph Goldman. At the time of his death, Golan had produced over 200 films, directed 44, and won 8 "Violin David Awards" as well as "The Israel Prize" in Cinema. He was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign-Language Film for Franco Zeffirelli's Otello.
Golan started as an apprentice at Habima Theater in Tel Aviv. After completing his studies in theater direction, he staged plays in Israel. He gained experience as a filmmaker by working as an assistant to Roger Corman.
Golan is probably best known as a director for his film Operation Thunderbolt (Mivtsa Yonatan, 1977), about the Israeli raid on Entebbe airport in Uganda. He also produced Eskimo Limon (Lemon Popsicle, 1978), a film that spawned many sequels and an American remake, The Last American Virgin (1982).
In 1979, Golan did an adaptation of an Isaac Bashevis Singer novel entitled The Magician of Lublin. He was responsible for the musical The Apple (1980), an unusual moral fable with a rock-disco soundtrack that appeared on a number of lists of all-time-worst movies, but has since become a cult film.
Golan's production company, The Cannon Group, produced a long line of films during the 1980s and early 1990s, including Delta Force, Runaway Train, and some of the Death Wish sequels. In 1986, Cannon was taken over by Pathe Communications. Golan produced several comic book-style movies in the last half of the 1980s, most notably Masters of the Universe, based on the toys of that name and inspired by the comics of Jack Kirby. In 1987, Cannon gained infamy after their U.K.-based production of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace failed in theaters and provoked a negative backlash from fans. Golan resigned from Cannon in 1989, and by 1993 the company had folded. After Cannon's collapse, Golan became head of 21st Century Film Corporation and produced several low to medium-budget films.
Golan hoped to film Spider-Man in 1986 at Cannon studios in United Kingdom, and to shoot the exteriors in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Dolph Lundgren was envisioned as the Green Goblin and Spider-Man creator Stan Lee was approached to make a cameo as J. Jonah Jameson. Golan struggled for years to produce the Marvel Comics character, but he finally failed when 21st Century Film Corporation went bankrupt and closed in 1996 (along with Carolco Pictures, another company that had agreed to help finance the film). Sony Pictures eventually purchased the Spider-Man rights and produced the first film in 2002. In 2002, Golan released his adaptation of Crime and Punishment.
Golan was born in Tiberias, then Mandate Palestine. His parents were Jewish emigrants from Russian Poland. He spent his early years in Tiberias, then studied directing at the Old Vic School and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and filmmaking at New York University. During the 1948 Palestine war, Golan served as a pilot in the Israeli Air Force. Golan was married and had three children. Among them, the clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Ruth Golan
Filmography as director
Awards and recognition
- 1978: Nomination for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film Operation Thunderbolt
- 1984: Nomination for Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture Cannonball Run
- 1986: Nomination for Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture Cobra
- 1987: Nomination for Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture Tough Guys don't dance
- In 1999, Golan was awarded the Israel Prize for his contribution to cinema.
- In 1994 Golan was awarded the Ophir Prize of the Israeli Film Academy for his Lifetime Achievement.
- The movie theater in the Azrieli building in Tel Aviv, Israel bore the name of the Golan-Globus company. It was closed in 2008.
- Fabrikant, Geraldine (March 1, 1989). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Golan Quits Cannon Group To Form His Own Company". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- Ronald Grover. "Unraveling Spider-Man's Tangled Web". Business Week (April 15, 2002). Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
- "Writers and Production Artists: Menachem Golan". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- Wingrove, David (1985). Science Fiction Film Source Book. Longman Group Limited.
- Cronin, Brian (November 2, 2006). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #75". comicbookresources.com.
- Jankiewicz, Pat (July 2002). "Scott Leva, the Man Who Was Almost Spider-Man". Starlog/Comics Scene Presents Spider-Man 1 (1): 62–64.
- "Menahem Golan, Producer of 1980s Action Movies, Dies at 85". Yahoo.com. August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
- Natale, Richard (8 August 2014). "Menachem Golan, Who Headed Cannon Films, Dies at 85". Variety.
- "The 50th Academy Awards (1978) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1999 (in Hebrew)". Archived from the original on 2011-09-21.
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