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Peter Benton Bart
July 24, 1932
|Occupation||Author, managing editor, film producer, journalist, screenwriter, television host|
(m. 1961; div. 1981)
(m. 1982; div. 2005)
Peter Benton Bart (born July 24, 1932) is an American journalist and film producer, writing a column for Deadline Hollywood since 2015. He is perhaps best known for his lengthy tenure (1989–2009) as the editor in chief of Variety, an entertainment-trade magazine.
Bart was also a co-host, with film producer Peter Guber, of the weekly television series, Shootout (formerly Sunday Morning Shootout), carried on the AMC television channel from 2003 to 2008 and subsequently seen in syndication and in 53 countries around the world.
Early life and education
Bart was born in New York City, the son of Clara (née Ginsberg) and Max S. Bart and raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side. His mother and likely his father were Austrian Jews who emigrated in the early Twentieth Century; and both worked as public school teachers. His father was strictly irreligious and anti-communist. Bart was educated at Friends Seminary in New York City; Swarthmore College, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and The London School of Economics and Political Science in London, United Kingdom.
Starting in 1967, Bart worked as an executive at Paramount Pictures, rising to vice president in charge of production; his relationship with Robert Evans was documented in Evans' autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture. He played a key role in such films as Rosemary's Baby (1968), True Grit (1969), Harold and Maude (1971), The Godfather (1972) and Paper Moon (1973). After eight years at Paramount he became senior vice president for production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and president of Lorimar Productions, where he was involved in such films as Being There (1979) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). Bart also served as a co-producer on such films as Fun with Dick and Jane (1977) and Islands in the Stream (1977). He also wrote the screenplay for the 1971 film Making It .
He joined Variety as editor-in-chief in 1989. In 2007, Bart appointed Tim Gray to become his successor as editor with the understanding that he would stay on as columnist, blogger and consultant. In April 2009, it was announced that Bart was moving to the position of "vice president and editorial director", characterized online as "Boffo No More: Bart Up and Out at Variety".
In 2001, Los Angeles Magazine reported that Bart had sold the rights to an 86-page novella called Power Play, about "a power struggle between established casino owners and Indian tribes," to Paramount Pictures, where his friend and business associate Robert Evans was a producer. Bart explained he had "probably spent a weekend" adapting the novella from a 108-page script called Crossroaders. The title page of the script showed it had been authored "By Leslie Cox", Bart's wife at the time, "Based on the novel by Peter Bart. September 1996." When asked if he wrote the script himself as well, Bart said he could not remember. Variety policy prohibits staffers from selling scripts, as doing so could generate a conflict of interest given that publication's focus and influence on the Hollywood movie industry, though Bart said he has no problem with staff selling the movie rights to books they have written.
Through the years Bart has published eight books, including five non-fiction and three fiction.
He serves on the Board of Advisors for Penske Media Company.
In 1961, he married Dorothy Callman; they had two daughters Colby Bart Centrella (born 1962) and Dilys Bart Shelton (born 1966). His second wife was Leslie Cox. Bart is remarried to the former Phyllis Fredette. His nephew is actor Roger Bart.
- Staff writer (undated). "Peter Bart Biography (1932–)". Accessed August 9, 2009.
- Los Angeles Magazine: "Is Peter Bart the Most Hated Man in Hollywood?" by Amy Wallace September 1, 2001
- The New York Times. (April 6, 2009).
- Washington Post: "Variety Editor Peter Bart Suspended" By Sharon Waxman August 18, 2001
- Horwitz, Simi (November 8, 2007). "First Banana – Roger Bart goes from sidekick to lead in bringing 'Young Frankenstein' to life". Backstage. Accessed April 4, 2009.
(This list may be incomplete.)
- Destinies, a novel co-written with Denne Bart Petitclerc (Simon & Schuster, 1979)
- Thy Kingdom Come, a novel (Linden, 1981)
- Fade Out: The Calamitous Final Days of MGM, nonfiction (Morrow, 1990). Refers to the final days of MGM as a historic film studio in Culver City, California. (MGM still exists as a company.)
- The Gross: the Hits, the Flops – the Summer that Ate Hollywood, nonfiction (St. Martin's Press, 1999) (paperback: St. Martin's Griffin, 2000) ISBN 978-0-312-25391-2
- Who Killed Hollywood? and Put the Tarnish on Tinseltown, nonfiction (Renaissance, 2000)
- Shoot Out: Surviving the Fame and (Mis)fortune of Hollywood, nonfiction coauthored with Peter Guber (Putnam, 2002)
- Dangerous Company: Dark Tales from Tinseltown, a collection of short stories (Miramax, 2003)
- Boffo! Hollywood in the Trenches: How I Learned to Love the Blockbuster and Fear the Bomb, nonfiction (Miramax, 2006)
- Variety.com, Variety's official website
- Peterbart.com, Bart's blog (redirects to Bart's blog hosted by variety.com; most recent entry – May 21, 2009)
- "The Backlot", index to Bart's weekly column for Variety
- Peter Bart on IMDb
- "Q&A – Peter Bart, Variety Editor-in-Chief", posted by Carolyn Kew (February 14, 2009) at AMC television
- Interview with Peter Bart, by Amy Wallace, in Los Angeles magazine
- "Peter Bart", Bart's blog at The Huffington Post