Documentary producer and director Mark Cowen died in Virginia on Monday, Sept. 10, after a battle with an unnamed debilitating disease. He was 50.
Cowen’s professional career began in the early 1980s at ZM Prods., where he helped to define the marketing genre of behind-the-scenes “making of” documentaries and electronic press kits, which are still widely used in motion picture publicity campaigns. He worked to shape the campaigns for films including “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Patriot Games” and “Empire of the Sun.”
In 1990, Cowen in partnership with producer Paul Hall, formed marketing and TV production company the Berkeley Group. The company produced EPKs, and they produced successful Fox television shows “Sightings” and “Encounters.”
Cowen went on to produce and direct the Emmy-nominated “We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company” which was a companion documentary to the Emmy Award winning HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.” He was also the director of the Imax film “Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D,” which he produced with his partner and longtime collaborator Mark Herzog, and co-wrote the film with Tom Hanks and his younger brother Christopher.
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Most recently, Cowen produced “America’s Greatest Feud: Hatfields and McCoys,” which was the companion documentary to the highly successful miniseries on History.
Mark Proctor Cowen grew up in San Marino, Calif. He attended St. Lawrence U. and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount U.
He is survived by his wife, Katie; three sons, his father; brother Christopher Cowen, VP of original programming at Herzog & Co.; and sister Maureen Kessler.
Donations may be made, in support of the education of the Cowen boys and in support of film education at Lighthouse Studios in Charlottesville and elsewhere, to the Mark Cowen Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o First Citizens Bank, 2101 Dominion Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22901.
A memorial service will be held at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m.
A celebration of Mark’s life will be held in Los Angeles at a date and time to be determined.