Jack H. Harris, producer of films including the 1958 horror film “The Blob” and “The Eyes of Laura Mars,” died of natural causes Tuesday in Beverly Hills. He was 98.
Harris was born in Philadelphia and performed in vaudeville as a child with the Cliff Edwards Kiddie Revue. After serving in the army during WWII, he worked in publicity and distribution before becoming a producer.
Before “The Blob,” Harris acquired the rights to “Jamboree” from the Boy Scouts of America, travelling the country to promote the film. During the trip, Harris and a Boy Scout exec spent hours discussing the ingredients necessary for a successful film and hatching a plan for a horror film.
He collaborated with Valley Forge, a Pennsylvania religious film studio, to make “The Blob,” and cast a little-known 27-year old Steve McQueen in the role of a town teenager who fights the red blob of muck. Methodist minister Irving S. Yeaworth directed from an idea by Irvine Millgate. With special effects heavily relying on silicone and red dye, the film cost just $240,000 to make and is said to have grossed at least $4 million. It became a cult staple on countless TV showings and later on video.
He went on to produce “4-D Man” and “Dinosaurus.” Later productions included “Equinox,” “Beware the Blob,” and the 1987 remake of “The Blob.”
Harris received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014. His 2015 book “Father of the Blob: The Making of a Monster Smash and Other Hollywood Tales” chronicled the unusual beginnings of the cult hit.
He is survived by his wife Judith Parker Harris, daughter Lynda Resnick, son Anthony Harris, grandchildren, great grandchildren, son-in-law Stewart Resnick and daughter-in-law Alizon Harris.
As memorial service is scheduled for Monday, March 20 at the Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery, 1218 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles.