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Charles Okun


Producer Charles Okun died of complications from cancer July 3 in Florida. He was 80.

A memorial service will be held August 21 at 10:30 a.m. at the DGA in Hollywood.

A native of New York, Okun taught school briefly following his graduation from NYU. In the 50s he left teaching to join the film industry, working first as an electrician on documentaries, commercials and industrial training films. In 1961 he became an assistant director, first on commercials and then, in 1968, on feature films.

His career as an assistant director, unit production manager, and producer spanned over 30 films. He worked as an assistant director for Frank Perry on “Diary of a Mad Housewife” and “Rancho Deluxe,” followed by “Such Good Friends” for Otto Preminger, Michael Winner’s “Death Wish,” Jonathan Demme’s “Handle With Care,” Sidney Lumet’s “Lovin’ Molly,” the first feature from Michael Cimino, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” and Ted Kotcheff’s “Fun with Dick and Jane.”

Okun worked with Cimino again on “The Deer Hunter,” which won five Academy Awards, and on “Heaven’s Gate.” He collaborated with filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan as executive producer/ producer/unit production manger on eight films, including “Silverado,” “The Accidental Tourist,” nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, “I Love You to Death,” “Grand Canyon,” “Wyatt Earp,” “French Kiss,” “Mumford,” and “Dreamcatcher.”

Okun is survived by two daughters, a brother, and three grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation/New York Chapter, or Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33407.

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