Wayne Crawford, ‘Valley Girl’ Producer, Dies at 69

Wayne Crawford, who produced indie hits including “Valley Girl” and “Night of the Comet” and acted in dozens of films and TV shows, died April 30 in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 69 and had been ill for some time, according to a colleague, Gregory Small.

The 1983 “Valley Girl,” which he also wrote, was directed by Martha Coolidge and starred a punky Nicolas Cage with Deborah Foreman. The film included a New Wave greatest hits soundtrack, but notably didn’t include the Frank Zappa song “Valley Girl,” which Zappa would not allow.

His other films as producer included “Peacemaker” and “Mortal Passions.” As an actor, he appeared in the TV series “American Heart” and “Okavango” and made numerous guest appearances.

Born in Geneva, New York, Crawford began his career as an actor in New York, working Off-Broadway and on truck and bus tours around America. While acting in a low-budget movie in South Florida, he joined the local film production community and decided to become a filmmaker. There he met Andy Lane, initiating a partnership that resulted in over 30 indie feature films including “Valley Girl,” “Night of the Comet” and “Jake Speed,” in which he played the title character.

He starred in many of those productions. Crawford-Lane Productions evolved into Gibraltar Entertainment, which was also responsible for the FX Channel TV series “Okavango,” which Crawford created and starred in and still airs in countries around the globe.

Crawford chaired the directing faculty at the U. of North Carolina School of the Arts for more than 12 years.

He is survived by his wife, Olena, whom he met on location in Ukraine. They collaborated on documentary productions and TV series that focused on wildlife and the natural history of southern Africa. They also teamed to create and produce motion pictures in the same arena, including “U’Bejani.” He is also survived by daughters Katerina Crawford and Nealy Frentz and a son, Lance Crawford.

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