Oversaw 'Dangerous Liaisons,' Burt Reynolds hits
Hank Moonjean, a producer, co-producer, associate producer or executive producer on films including Stephen Frears’ “Dangerous Liaisons,” Mike Nichols’ “The Fortune” and “The Great Gatsby” (1974), as well as a string of box office hits starring Burt Reynolds, died Sunday, Oct. 7, in Los Angeles from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 82.
Moonjean’s Reynolds films included “The End,” “Hooper,” Smokey and the Bandit II,” “Paternity,” “Sharkey’s Machine” and “Stroker Ace.” Other producing credits included horror film “Child’s Play,” “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” (1982) and Jodie Foster starrer “Stealing Home.”
Earlier in his career, Moonjean spent many years as an assistant director, uncredited at first, working on a number of films starring Paul Newman including “Somebody Up There Likes Me” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
Born in Evanston, Ill., and of Armenian heritage, Moonjean was a recent USC graduate when he answered an MGM ad for an interpreter. He soon found himself on location with director George Cukor on the film “Bhowani Junction” in 1954. He spent eight years at MGM, apprenticed as a second a.d. on such titles as “Blackboard Jungle,” “The Prodigal,” “It’s Always Fair Weather,” “Love Me or Leave Me,” “The Tender Trap,” “I’ll Cry Tomorrow,” “A Catered Affair,” “Kismet,” “Tea and Sympathy” and “Raintree County.”
Away from MGM, he performed second unit work on “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Oklahoma!” and “South Pacific.”
Moonjean moved up to assistant director on projects with directors Joshua Logan (“Tall Story,” “Fanny”), Richard Brooks (“Sweet Bird of Youth”), Carol Reed (“Mutiny on the Bounty”), John Sturges (“Never So Few”) and Vincent Minnelli (“Four Horseman of the Apocalypse”).
He worked on four films with Elvis Presley.
Moonjean wrote of his experiences in Hollywood in his 2004 memoir “Bring in the Peacocks.”
The producer had a lifelong hobby of collecting movie ads from all studios and eras of film. The collection has been donated to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Moonjean is survived by his domestic partner of 51 years, Bradley Bennett, as well as a large family of nieces and nephews.