Louis K. Sher, founder of the Art Theater Guild, a theater chain that specialized in showing foreign and independent films, died Nov. 25 of natural causes in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 84.

Sher, committed to making independent and foreign films popular with American moviegoers, used his theaters to screen films by such independents as Andy Warhol, Shirley Clark and Emil d’Antonio. The theater chain was a success, expanding to 50 theaters around the country.

The Guild theaters also showed the early films of George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, warming the public to their innovative filmmaking style.

Sher was also a fixture on Broadway, co-producing the Tony award-winning musical “Shenandoah” and producing the plays “American Dance Machine, Eccentricities of a Nightingale” and “The Trip Back Down.”

Born and raised in Ohio, Sher attended Ohio State U. and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was awarded the Bronze Star while serving as a combat soldier in China.

Sher is survived by his wife, Helen, four children and numerous grandchildren.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in his memory to the Rivel Care Center, 3020 North 36th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85018.