He started as a production manager
Producer Don Guest, whose career includes “Paris, Texas,” died April 23 in Tours, France. He was 75.The 1984 Cannes Palme d’Or winner was Guest’s second film with director Wim Wenders, after “Hammett” (1982), produced with Francis Coppola and Fred Roos. A much-in-demand production manager early in his career, Guest oversaw the complexities of Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point.” Coming on the heels of “Blow Up,” MGM gave the director license to shoot for almost a year, over much of the American West. It was Guest’s first feature outing and established his reputation for smooth and efficient oversight of difficult productions. Peter Bogdonovitch’s Oscar-winning “The Last Picture Show” and Sam Peckinpah’s “The Getaway” starring Steve McQueen followed, along with Martin Ritt’s now-classic “Sounder” and Philip Kaufman’s “The White Dawn.” Guest also served as associate producer on the latter two. Born in Oklahoma, Guest moved to Los Angeles with his family in the 1940s as part of the westward Dust Bowl migration. He wrote about the childhood experience in “Okie Blues.” Other screenplays include “Way of the Peaceful Warrior,” from the novel by Dan Millman, and “Star Child.” His personal writing dealt with the dilemmas of the human condition and, when given a choice, he preferred to work on “movies which make a difference.” Guest started his career at ZIV-TV, the predecessor of UA-TV, where he was in charge of TV production. His other feature credits include the international co-production, “Shadow of China” (1990), directed by Mitsuo Yanagimachi and starring John Lone (produced with Elliott Lewitt); “At Close Range” (1986), directed by James Foley with Sean Penn and Christopher Walken, and the Charles Bronson vehicle, “Breakheart Pass” (1975). He became a producer on Paul Schrader’s “Blue Collar” (1978), starring Richard Pryor. He is survived by his wife, Laurie Blum Guest, three children and three grandchildren.