Theatre, film and TV vet produced 'Richard Pryor: Live in Concert'

J. Mark Travis, 61, a theatre, film and TV producer, passed away after a short illness Tuesday morning at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

Travis began his career in show business as an agent representing music composers, including Don Ellis and Jack Nitzsche. He converted a Mormon Church in Salt Lake City into a recording studio, where Nitzsche recorded the score for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Travis moved into film production 1975, teaming with Bill Sargent and David Permut to videotape a one-man stage production, “Give ‘em Hell Harry!,” starring James Whitmore. They self-released the film three weeks after taping the show and Whitmore went on to receive an Academy Award nomination.

Travis, Permut and Sargent also produced and released the film “Richard Pryor: Live in Concert,” which grossed $32.5 million. Travis and Permut eventually formed a production company based at Columbia and set up the deal for Cheech & Chong to star in “Nice Dreams,” and “Things Are Tough All Over.” Travis and Permut later moved to Lorimar and produced the feature film “Fighting Back” with Dino DeLaurentiis.

Travis then worked as chief of staff for Dr. Gene Scott Pastor of the University Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles and one of the first television ministries. Travis also was involved with the salvaging and restoration of the Los Angeles Downtown Library.

Permut developed a script based on Travis’ with Touchstone at Disney. They also worked on developing “The Lifeguard, Ronald Reagan and his Story,” a one man play to be staged and filmed in front a live audience.

Travis is survived by his mother Patricia Travis, sisters Melinda Travis and Melissa Travis and brother Jon Travis.

The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Memorial services are pending.

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