Richard Zanuck and David Brown, who dissolved their Zanuck/Brown feature production partnership three years ago, are being reunited as the first joint recipients of the Irving H. Thalberg Memorial Award.
The Thalberg Award, given only 29 times in the Academy’s 62-year history, last went to Billy Wilder in 1988.
Zanuck’s father, Darryl F. Zanuck, was the only producer to earn the honor three times, in 1937 (the first year the award was given), 1944 and 1950. Current rules do not permit the award to go to the same person more than once. The award may be conferred only by a majority vote of the Academy board of directors.
Among the 17 features produced by Zanuck/Brown since its founding in 1972 were “The Sting,” which won the 1973 best picture Oscar, “The Sugarland Express,” “The Eiger Sanction,” “Jaws,” “The Verdict,” “Target” and “Cocoon.”
Lili Fini Zanuck, Zanuck’s partner in his present firm, the Zanuck Co., was a co-producer on “Cocoon.” She and her husband produced Warner’s “Driving Miss Daisy,” which captured last year’s Academy Award as best picture.
Brown last year gave up a development deal at Tri-Star to join longtime collaborator John Heyman as president of World Film Services, a division of London-based Island World.
On his own, Brown is continuing with a four-picture production program including “A Few Good Men” (Castle Rock/Tri-Star), “The Midnight Club” (Carolco), “The Layer” (to be directed by Sidney Lumet) and “The Cemetery Club” (Touchstone).
Zanuck’s next, at MGM, is “Rush,” Jennifer Jason Leigh-starrer to be directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, her first foray in that role.