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‘Spartacus’ Producer Edward Lewis Dies at 99

Edward Lewis, an independent producer best known for “Spartacus” and “Missing,” died at the age of 99 in his Los Angeles home on July 27. He produced 33 films, which garnered 15 Oscars and Golden Globe awards as well as 90 nominations. Additionally, he co-wrote musicals, works of fiction, and screenplays with the his partner and wife, Mildred, who died April 7.

A passionate opposer of the Hollywood blacklist, Lewis was given credit for clearing the name of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo by hiring him for “Spartacus.” Lewis went on to produce “The Last Sunset,” “Lonely Are The Brave,” and “Executive Action,” all films written by Trumbo.

Lewis and his wife were nominated for a best picture Oscar for Costa-Gavras’ 1982 drama “Missing.” They worked together on a number of other projects including, “Harold and Maude” and “Brothers.” He and his wife also co-wrote the books “Heads You Lose” and “Masquerade.”

Born Dec. 16, 1919 in Camden, New Jersey, the writer-producer enrolled in Bucknell University at the age of 16. After s short time in dental school, he served as a captain during WWII. Following his return from the war, he moved to Los Angeles where he met and married his wife. The two began their career writing the screenplay for “The Lovable Cheat,” which Lewis co-produced. He would go on to oversee 20 shows for Schlitz Playhouse and continue to work with Kirk Douglas and director John Frankenheimer.

He produced six films with Frankenheimer, including “Seven Days in May” and “The Fixer.”

Edward and Mildred Lewis were avid supporters of multiple civil rights causes. In a venture with Cesar Chavez, he and his wife facilitated the purchase and establishment of the United Farmworkers of America’s La Paz Headquarters. The pair also organized the Hollywood Bowl fundraiser for the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.

His last film was “The River” with Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek.

Lewis is survived by daughters Susan and Joan Lewis and grandchildren Maya Cortes and Lewis Golove.

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