Longtime international film distribution executive Maurice “Red” Silverstein died Sept. 6 of complications from a fall he suffered three years ago . He was 89.
Silverstein began his industry career in 1927 as a New York-based salesman for MGM and rose to the presidency of MGM Intl., enjoying a colorful career living in numerous international cities including Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City.
In the ensuing years, Silverstein worked in an international capacity for numerous studios, including 20th Century Fox and Universal. Following WWII, he returned to MGM and was once placed in charge of the Far East. It was not long before he was transferred to Mexico City, to control MGM’s South American distribution markets.
From there, Silverstein expanded his work at MGM by becoming a liaison to the growing force of independent producers entering into the production field. His first involvement in this new capacity was the Gary Cooper starrer “Friendly Persuasion” (1956).
As president of MGM Intl., Silverstein also assisted in the production of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Dr. Zhivago.”
His proudest accomplishment was the international nongovernmental organization Counterpart International, a foundation for people in the South Pacific that is now in more than 60 nations.
Silverstein is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Bryant, two daughters, a son and four grandchildren.