Jonathan D. Krane, who produced the highly profitable comedy “Look Who’s Talking” and its sequels and was a frequent collaborator with John Travolta, died Monday. He was 65.
His wife, Oscar-nominated “M*A*S*H” actress Sally Kellerman, announced the news on Facebook earlier this week. Her manager, Bruce Tufeld, also confirmed Krane’s death to Variety.
“So sorry to report the sudden passing on Monday of my beloved husband Jonathan D. Krane,” Kellerman wrote. “Thankfully our twins Jack and Hannah are both with me. I am totally devastated.”
Krane founded Management Company Entertainment Group (MCEG) in the late ’80s, which quickly rocketed to success with the 1989 release of “Look Who’s Talking,” which was directed by Amy Heckerling. It starred Travolta as a cab driver who starts dating a woman played by Kirstie Alley, the mother of a snarky, troublesome toddler, voiced by Bruce Willis.
“Looking Who’s Talking” grossed a huge $297 million with a low budget, and immediately established Krane as Hollywood’s next big producer. It was followed by sequel “Look Who’s Talking Too” in 1990, which saw the return of Heckerling, Travolta, Alley and Willis and was joined by the voice of Roseanne Barr.
Krane saw a fall from grace, however, when MCEG sought protection in bankruptcy court in 1990 and Krane left the company. Mostly to blame for the financial troubles was massive purchase of foreign distribution company Virgin Vision. With few movies to its credit, MCEG was $100 million in debt.
“A lot of people seemed glad that I failed,” Krane told the Los Angeles Times in 1993, as he was about to release his third “Look Who’s Talking,” this time with dogs doing the talking. “I learned that I’m not a golden boy. And I also learned that arrogance can be a horrible trait.”
The 1993 movie, “Look Who’s Talking Now,” grossed just $10 million.
The producer, often described as flamboyant and aggressive, was also the longtime manager of Travolta. In addition to the “Look Who’s Talking” movies, the two collaborated on “Face/Off,” “Primary Colors,” “Chains of Gold,” “The Experts,” “Michael,” “Phenomenon,” “The General’s Daughter,” “Lucky Numbers,” “Battlefield Earth” and more. They parted ways in 2002.
Krane, a graduate of St. John’s College and Yale University, produced 46 films overall. His other credits include Nicolas Roeg’s “Cold Heaven,” Costa-Gavras’ “Mad City” and “The Lay of the Land,” which starred Kellerman.
Along with his wife, Krane is survived by their twin children Jack and Hannah.