Academy administrator Edwards dies

Douglas Edwards, 44, theater and special events administrator for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and a longtime force in specialized film programming in Los Angeles, died Feb. 2 at Hollywood Community Hospital of AIDS complications.

Highly knowledgeable about all aspects of film history, Edwards had been coordinator of film retrospectives, exhibits and special programs at the Academy since 1980, and had produced more than 250 public events in Southern California, New York and elsewhere.

In charge of the frequent exhibitions and special screenings at the Academy in BevHills, he also supervised the international tour of the restored “A Star Is Born,” the four-day “Olympiad of Animation” during the Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival and a Carnegie Hall tribute to Myrna Loy.

At the time of his death, he was coordinating tonight’s opening of a photo exhibit from the collection of Sid and Diana Avery and the Feb. 10 Johnny Green tribute.

In 1989, Edwards was put in charge of the Samuel Goldwyn Theater and Little Theater and oversaw their renovation.

Academy executive director Bruce Davis said yesterday, “Doug was absolutely central to the Academy’s programming operations. He had an amazingly astute sense of topic selection, and a sure touch in putting together evenings filled with warmth, humor and a sense of rediscovery.”

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Edwards studied architecture and design at UC Berkeley and film at UCLA. The rare personification of a gentleman and a scholar , he pioneered the exhibition of alternative fare in Hollywood by working for 10 years as program director of the avant-garde and experimental venue, Encounter Cinema.

He also served for eight years on the feature, documentary and special program committees of the Los Angeles International Film Exhibition (Filmex), and was guest director of the film department of the L.A. County Museum of Art.

From 1983 to 1990, he edited Media Arts and was national film critic and L.A. editor of the Advocate for four years. He had been a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. since 1979.

Among other affiliations, Edwards was chairman of the Motion Picture Centennial Committee, a confederation of more than 70 national institutions that is coordinating a six-year celebration of the invention and introduction of the motion picture.

He was also on the board of directors of the National Alliance of Media Arts Centers, a board member and past prez of the Los Angeles Filmforum and a board member of the Independent Feature Project/West and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Media Coalition.

He is survived by his mother, Manueline Wadginski. His longtime companion was Gary Berkowitz.

Funeral services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations to AIDS Project Los Angeles.

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