Emmy Award winning producer Marian Rees, best known for films such as “Decoration Day” and “Miss Rose White,” died August 26 in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She was 90.
Rees began her career in Hollywood as a receptionist for NBC before joining Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin’s company, Tandem Productions in 1955. There, she worked as an associate producer on several projects including a television tribute to Frank Sinatra, the Emmy Award-winning special “An Evening with Fred Astaire” and the pilots for both “All in the Family” and “Sanford & Son.”
After 17 years, Rees left Tandem Productions for Tomorrow Entertainment and eventually the NRW company where she became vice president and worked as the executive producer for “Angel Dusted” and “The Marva Collins Story,” starring Cicely Tyson. In 1981, Rees left everything behind in order to fund her own production company, Marian Rees Associates, with her partner Hopkins.
After mortgaging her house to fund the company’s productions, Rees landed her first television film “Miss All-American Beauty” with CBS, which was followed by “Between Friends” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett for HBO and “License to Kill” for CBS.
Rees later partnered with Hallmark to produce the film “Love is Never Silent,” which starred deaf actors as parents and went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special. In total, Marian Rees Associates produced 40 films and garnered 11 Emmys, two Golden Globes, six Christopher Awards, the Humanitas Prize, two Gabriel Awards, numerous Monte Carlo Television Awards and the Peabody Award.
Rees is survived by her partner Anne Hopkins, her sister Natalie Rees and a host of nieces and nephews.
A service will be held Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church on Bainbridge Island, and donations are being accepted for the University of Iowa Foundation and the Eagle Harbor Congressional Church.
Donations may be made to the University of Iowa Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, IA 5224 www.foriowa.org or Eagle Harbor Congregational Church 105 Winslow Way W, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 www.eagleharborchurch.org/