Producer Martin Poll, best known for producing 1968’s “The Lion in Winter,” starring Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole, died of natural causes on April 14. He was 89.
“The Lion in Winter” received nine Academy Award nominations and won three. Poll was nominated for the Oscar for best picture, and the film won the Golden Globe for best picture.
Poll later produced Woody Allen’s spoof of Russian novels “Love and Death” (1975) and “The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea” (1976), starring Sarah Miles and Kris Kristofferson and based on a novel by Mishima.
Poll produced a total of 11 feature films beginning with 1963’s “Love Is a Ball,” a comedy starring Glenn Ford and Hope Lange. Others included “Sylvia” (1965); Sidney Lumet’s “The Appointment” (1969); horror film “The Possession of Joel Delaney” (1970), starring Shirley MacLaine; “The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart” (1972); horror mystery pic “Night Watch” (1973), with Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey; 1973 Western “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing,” with Burt Reynolds; “Somebody Killed Her Husband” (1978), with Farrah Fawcett and Jeff Bridges; 1981 crime thriller “Nighthawks,” with Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams; 1988’s “Haunted Summer”; and “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” (1991), with Scott Glenn and Kate Capshaw.
Poll also worked in television, producing CBS miniseries “The Dain Curse” (1978), starring James Coburn and based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett; 1979 CBS telepic “The Fantastic Seven”; and 1993’s “Diana: Her True Story” for NBC. As one of the exec producers on the 2003 Showtime remake of “The Lion in Winter,” starring Glenn Close, he was nominated for an Emmy.
Poll began his film career in 1954 by producing 39 half-hour episodes of the “Flash Gordon” TV series in Germany and France for international release.
He restored the historic Biograph Studio and reopened it in 1956 as the Gold Medal Studios, the largest film studio in the U.S. outside Los Angeles. At Gold Medal, he presided over such productions as Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd”; “The Middle of the Night” and “The Goddess,” both penned by Paddy Chayefsky; “The Fugitive Kind,” directed by Lumet and starring Marlon Brando; and “Butterfield 8,” for which Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar. In 1959 he was appointed New York’s commissioner of motion picture arts; the city subsequently set up a film commission.
Poll is survived by his wife, Gladys Poll; sons Mark Poll, a set designer, Tony Jaffe and Jon Poll, a film editor, producer and director; and three grandchildren.