×

Producer, director Mark Cowen dies

Recently produced 'Hatfields & McCoys' docu for History

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.

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.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • 71st Emmys Governors Ball

    Why the Television Academy Plans to Donate Furnishings From the 71st Emmys Governors Ball

    The Emmys’ official after party is set to impress — and to leave a permanent impression. At the annual press preview of the 71st Emmys Governors Ball, the Television Academy announced a partnership with Living Spaces, Habitat for Humanity and the Hollywood Community Housing Project that will provide more than 80 custom sofas, chairs and [...]

  • Gaby Hoffmann, Albert Cheng, Alexandra Billings,

    'Transparent' Team Reflects on Series Finale Without Jeffrey Tambor

    Friday night’s premiere of the series finale of “Transparent” at L.A. Live’s Regal theater felt like a family reunion for the Pfefferman clan. Matriarch Judith Light embraced each one of her TV children (Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass) and guest stars from previous seasons (Cherry Jones, Melora Hardin, Bradley Whitford) who also turned [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Pom Klementieff poses at the launch

    Marvel Cinematic Universe Star Pom Klementieff Talks Disney-Fox Merger, X-Men Dreams

    Pom Klementieff may have entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing Mantis in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” followed by appearances in the last two “Avengers” movies, but that wasn’t her original superhero plan. “My dream was to be in X-Men,” she told Variety on Thursday at the Chanel dinner for its new fragrance Gabrielle [...]

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    Gwyneth Paltrow to Be Honored at amfAR Gala Los Angeles

    Gwyneth Paltrow and art dealer Larry Gagosian are set to be honored at the 2019 amfAR Gala Los Angeles. The American Foundation for AIDS Research announced that the two honorees will receive the Award of Courage for their commitment in the fight against HIV and AIDS as well as for their other humanitarian efforts. Christina [...]

  • David Mandel Sam Richardson

    'The Handmaid's Tale,' 'Veep,' 'When They See Us' Writers Honored at Emmy Nominees Reception

    Ava DuVernay (“When They See Us”), David Mandel (“Veep”) and Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) were among those honored at the Television Academy’s Emmy nominees writers reception on Tuesday night in North Hollywood. There, ceremony hosts, “Escape at Dannemora” star Eric Lange and “Veep’s” Sam Richardson, kept the show moving by tossing in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content