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Arthur Lewis


Theatrical, film and TV producer Arthur Lewis died June 30 in Dana Point, Calif. He was 89.

Lewis’s career spanned four decades in the U.S. and on the London stage, where he produced the original production of “Guys and Dolls” in 1953 and “Funny Girl,” which starred Barbara Streisand in her West End debut.

Lewis was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the elder son of Broadway and Hollywood producer Albert Lewis. He attended USC and the Yale School of Drama before serving in WWII, where he made training films for the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

Lewis then worked as a screenwriter for 20th Century Fox. Collaborating with his father, he wrote the screen play for “Oh You Beautiful Doll” and the story for “Golden Girl.”

The two Lewis’ then produced their only Broadway musical together, “Three Wishes for Jamie” in 1952. After writing another movie, “The Conquest of Cochise,” Lewis went to work for Cy Feuer and Ernie Martin.

His first job for them was to produce and direct the London version of their hit musical “Guys and Dolls,” which opened at the Coliseum Theatre in 1953. While in London, Lewis convinced Martin and Feuer to take “The Boy Friend” to Broadway. Lewis was instrumental in the casting of the then unknown Julie Andrews in the lead role.

He worked as the associate producer on “Can-Can,” “The Boy Friend” and “Silk Stockings” for Feuer and Martin before moving into TV, producing three series, “Brenner,” “The Asphalt Jungle” and “The Nurses.”

Returning to the theater, he staged the London production of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” in association with Feuer and Martin. Over the next six years, Lewis, together with with Bernard Delfont, produced over 14 West End plays and musicals, of which he directed four.

Lewis moved into film production and shot two movies in England, “Loot!” based on the Joe Orton play and “Baxter” directed by Lionel Jeffries. He then moved back to Los Angeles to produce “The Killer Elite” directed by Sam Peckinpah and “Brass Target.”

Subsequently he made a Golden Globe nommed TV movie version of “The Diary of Anne Frank” and TV movie “Splendor in the Grass.”

He is survived by his wife Mary Carroll, two sons and four grandchildren.

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