You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

David Weisman, ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ Producer, Dies at 77

David Weisman, who was Oscar-nominated as producer of “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” died Oct. 9 in Los Angeles due to complications from West Nile virus. He was 77.

Weisman had a long career as a graphic designer and photographer and co-wrote and co-directed cult classic “Ciao! Manhattan” about 1960s icon Edie Sedgwick.

Born in Binghamton, N.Y., Weisman dropped out of Syracuse University in the early 1960s to design film posters in Rome. He met Federico Fellini and created a poster for “8 1/2” before returning to New York to work with Otto Preminger on “Hurry Sundown.” He also designed the key art for “The Boys in the Band” and many other films.

On “Ciao! Manhattan” he partnered with John Palmer, an alumnus of Andy Warhol’s Factory. He worked as associate director on avant-garde film “The Telephone Book” and created “Shogun Assassin,” edited from a series of Japanese samurai movies.

Weisman begin working with Leonard Schrader on documentary “The Killing of America.” Weisman acquired rights to Manuel Puig’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman” in 1982 and began developing the screenplay with Schrader. The film was originally set to star Burt Lancaster, but as his health failed, he was replaced with William Hurt and Hector Babenco began filming in 1983 with Hurt, Raul Julia and Sonia Braga starring.

Weisman finished the edit with Schrader after Babenco also faced health issues, and after an arduous post-production period, the film was accepted in competition at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, where Hurt won best actor. The film grossed nearly $18 million through Island Alive, an unprecedented amount for an independent drama, and was Oscar-nommed for best picture, best director and best adapted screenplay, with Hurt winning best actor.

Weisman went on to produce Paul Morrissey’s “Spike of Bensonhurst” and Leonard Schrader’s “Naked Tango.” He co-authored the book “Edie: Girl on Fire” with Melissa Painter and worked on a documentary on Sedgwick. He recently won a lawsuit giving him publicity rights to her name and likeness.

More recently, Weisman has been developing projects with Paul Schrader.

He is survived by his brother, film and television director Sam Weisman; sister-in-law Constance McCashin; nephew Daniel Weisman; and niece Margaux Weisman.

A memorial will be announced at a later date. Donations may be made to Save Tigers Now, a joint effort of the World Wildlife Fund and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Jack Ryan

    Richard Rutkowski on ‘Jack Ryan,’ Costa-Gavras and Being Nice Abroad

    TORUN, Poland – Speaking at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival on Monday, Richard Rutkowski praised the work of Costa-Gavras, offered sage advice for filmmakers working internationally, and offered a glimpse of the fast-paced work faced by cinematographers on high-profile TV series. Rutkowski, whose credits include “Jack Ryan,” “Castle Rock” and “The Americans,” discussed the methods, [...]

  • 'Honeyland' DP on Low-Fi Shooting With

    'Honeyland' DP on Low-Fi Shooting With High-Powered Storytelling

    Filming the Sundance-awarded “Honeyland” in a remote North Macedonia locale without roads or electricity, it was easy to get lost, confesses cinematographer Fejmi Daut. “It was too hard to decide what would be the storyline in the beginning,” said the debut DP, speaking at the 27th EnergaCamerimage cinematography festival in Torun, Poland. The editing process [...]

  • Q A_Joker_Lawrence-Sher_CKK-Jordanki_fot-Maria-Kowalska_11

    'Joker’ Cinematographer on Joaquin Phoenix’s Transformative Performance

    TORUN, Poland – “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher received a rockstar welcome at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival on Monday as attendees struggled to squeeze into a standing-room only conference room for a lively and in-depth Q&A session on the making of the box office sensation. Sher appeared equally excited to be at the event. “Obviously [...]

  • Igor Drljaca, Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo

    Verve Signs 'Disappearance at Clifton Hill' Director Albert Shin (EXCLUSIVE)

    Verve has signed Albert Shin, the director of the buzzy new thriller “Disappearance at Clifton Hill,” Variety has learned. Distribution rights for the film were recently acquired by IFC Midnight and the movie is expected to open in February. “Disappearance at Clifton Hill” debuted at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. It centers on a [...]

  • John Bailey

    John Bailey Urges Cinematographers to Embrace Story Over Technology

    It’s safe to say John Bailey does not miss the trappings of the president’s office at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Speaking at a retrospective celebrating his five decades of cinematography work at Poland’s EnergaCamerimage festival, where Bailey will be honored with a lifetime achievement award this week, he told an audience [...]

  • Justin Bieber Cupid Movie

    Justin Bieber Debuts First Look at 'Cupid' Movie

    Beware of cupid’s arrow. Justin Bieber unveiled a first-look photo for “Cupid,” his upcoming animated movie from Mythos Studios. The image sees a cartooned Bieber, who will voice the god of love, on the side of a cliff with the sun setting in the background. “Cupid” will tell the story of the eponymous mythical being [...]

  • Robert De Niro

    Robert De Niro to Receive SAG Life Achievement Award

    Robert De Niro will be honored with a SAG life achievement award. The legendary actor, who currently stars in Netflix’s “The Irishman” and Warner Bros.’ “Joker,” will receive the performers’ union’s top accolade at the 26th annual SAG Awards on Jan. 19 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The award is given annually to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content