×

LACMA film historian Ron Haver dead at 54

Ronald D. Haver, film historian, author and film preservationist, died Tuesday in Los Angeles from complications of AIDS. He was 54.

The Oakland native, infatuated by film early on, founded a film society for the Boys’ Club at his high school with his best friend, Gary Essert, who later co-founded Filmex and the American Cinematheque. Haver projected films for the members, which led to his first job as a doorman at the Grand Lake Theater.

After graduating from high school, Haver moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as an usher at the Carthay Theater.

He then joined the army, and completed his military service in New York City, where he was transferred during the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Haver continued to live in New York City, attending film classes under the G.I. Bill at the New School and Columbia U. and then working as a publicist and actor.

Haver returned to Los Angeles in 1970, where his old friend Essert helped him land a job as a projectionist at the American Film Institute’s Beverly Hills campus. Haver’s knowledge and talent as a film historian was obvious to those near him and soon he became the oral historian to Marian C. Cooper, producer of “King Kong.”

Popular on Variety

In 1972 Haver left AFI and teamed with film historian David Shepard to establish a permanent film program for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Soon LACMA named Haver director of film programs, a post he held for 20 years. While there he organized innovative film series with guest appearances by world-famous performers and directors, and instituted the popular Wednesday and Friday matinees for senior citizens.

In 1980 Knopf published Haver’s “David O. Selznick’s Hollywood.” Three years later, sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and Warner Bros., Haver managed the restoration of “A Star Is Born” (1954), directed by George Cukor and starring Judy Garland and James Mason. He recovered 20 of the 30 minutes missing from Cukor’s original cut. The restored film opened on June 30, 1983, to critical acclaim and sold-out houses at Radio City Music Hall, then played to audiences around the world.

He is survived by his mother, a sister, a nephew and a niece.

The family requests donations to the Film Dept., Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

More Film

  • Mika Ronkainen and Merja Aakko

    ‘All the Sins’ Producers to Broaden Spanish-Language Ties (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden: “All the Sins”’ Finnish co-writers and creators Mika Ronkainen and Merja Aakko, winners of last year’s Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for outstanding Nordic screenplay, are developing for MRK Matila Röhr Productions an adoption drama set between Finland and Guatemala. Based on a true story, the six-part series “Act of Telling” (a [...]

  • A still from Vivos by Ai

    'Vivos': Film Review

    To the individual enduring it, sorrow seems a lonely, defenseless emotion, one from which others are too quick to look away. Shared and felt en masse, however, it can become something different: a galvanizing force, a wall, not diminished in pain but not diminished by it either. Ai Weiwei’s stirring new documentary “Vivos” runs on [...]

  • Jumbo

    'Jumbo': Film Review

    Tall, dark and handsome? The crush that Noémie Merlant’s character, Jeanne, explores in “Jumbo” is one out of three: a 25-foot-tall carnival ride who seduces the amusement park janitor as she spit-cleans his bulbs. During the night shift, Jumbo literally lights up Jeanne’s life, and while he’s not handsome in the traditional sense — especially [...]

  • Ironbark

    'Ironbark': Film Review

    Movie spies typically fall into one of two categories. There are the butterflies — flamboyant secret agents like James Bond or “Atomic Blonde” who behave as conspicuously as possible. And then there are the moth-like kind, who do their best to blend in. The character Benedict Cumberbatch plays in “Ironbark” belongs to the latter variety, [...]

  • Miss Juneteenth review

    'Miss Juneteenth': Film Review

    “Miss Juneteenth” richly captures the slow pace of ebbing small-town Texas life, even if you might wish there were a bit more narrative momentum to pick up the slack in writer-director Channing Godfrey Peoples’ first feature. She’s got a very relatable heroine in Nicole Beharie’s Turquoise, an erstwhile local beauty queen whose crown proved the [...]

  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always

    'Never Rarely Sometimes Always': Film Review

    The basic plot of “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” is easy enough to describe. A 17-year-old girl named Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) winds up pregnant in a small Pennsylvania town. Prevented from seeking an abortion by the state’s parental consent laws, she takes off for New York City with her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), where what they’d [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content