Irwin Pizor

Irwin Pizor, a veteran film distribution executive, died May 7 of heart failure in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 80.

Born and reared in Hollywood, Pizor worked as a child actor in silent films before his family relocated to New York City.

In the late 1930s Pizor joined his father’s company, Imperial Pictures, which produced features in Hollywood and distributed British films in the United States.

In 1945, Pizor left his father’s company and worked as an engineer for the CBS radio network on such programs as “The Arthur Godfrey Show.”

After leaving CBS, Pizor re-joined his father in an executive sales capacity for Lippert Prods.

In 1957, following the death of his father, Pizor took over the reins of Screen Guild Prods. and also acted as executive producer of an upcoming film that was to have starred Mario Lanza.

When Lanza died, singer Tony Dali was cast in the lead, but Pizor’s international partners refused to accept a substitute star and the film was shelved.

That same year, Pizor’s Buzz Prods., which included Robert L. Lippert, set up shop to make features for 20th Century Fox release, which Lippert’s Associated Producers Inc. was already doing.

Pizor and James Carreras’ Clarion Films Ltd. produced “The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas” with Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker. The production of the film led to Carreras producing an entire line of horror films under his Hammer Films banner.

Pizor also established Thor Films Intl. Trust, which purchased all of the assets of two important Italian film companies, Minerva and Excelsa. The purchase included 66 major Italian productions, which Pizor’s firm owned for all international rights.

In 1963, Pizor, Kane W. Lynn and Eddie Romero formed Hemisphere Pictures. The company initially made war films including “Raiders of Leyte Gulf,” “Walls of Hell” and “The Ravagers.” The company eventually made films for U.S. drive-ins, including “Brides of Blood,” “Mad Doctor of Blood Island” and “Beast of Blood.”

Their last production, “Beast of the Yellow Light,” was not released by Hemisphere but became one of the first films released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures.

After Pizor produced the comedy documentary “Chaplin’s Art of Comedy” in 1965, he left Hemisphere Prods. and joined Independent-Intl. Pictures Corp., which was formed by Sam Sherman and Dan Kennis.

At IIP, Pizor produced “The Naughty Stewardesses,” “Girls for Rent” and “Blazing Stewardesses.”

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