Marvin Worth

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Marvin Worth
Born(1925-06-06)June 6, 1925
Brooklyn, New York
DiedApril 22, 1998(1998-04-22) (aged 72)
Los Angeles, California
Other namesFilm producer, screenwriter, actor
SpouseJoan Worth (ca. 1954 – April 22, 1998)

Marvin Worth (June 6, 1925 – April 22, 1998) was an American film producer, screenwriter and actor. His efforts to bring the biography of Malcolm X to the big screen started in 1967, when he purchased the rights to The Autobiography of Malcolm X , and eventually led to the production of the 1972 documentary, for which he received an Oscar nomination. Later on, he would produce Malcolm X , with director Spike Lee. He was nominated for an Oscar for producing Lenny in 1974.


Early life and career

Worth's career began at a very early age when he began promoting jazz concerts, which led to relationship with many artists. At one time, he managed the musical careers of Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday. Later, Worth's employment as an agent branched into comedy, and he took on contentious comedian Lenny Bruce. In the 1950s, he forged a partnership with Arne Sultan and began writing material for Bruce. The duo went on to pen the scripts for Three on a Couch and Boys' Night Out and the story for Promise Her Anything . In 1958, Worth won a Peabody Award for his writing on The Steve Allen Show . [1]

In 1971, Worth brought the story of Lenny Bruce to Broadway in the production Lenny, which won a Tony Award for its star, Cliff Gorman.(Internet Broadway Database) [1] [2] In 1974 the movie version of Lenny directed by Bob Fosse was released and received multiple Academy Award nominations. For the remainder of his career, Worth continued to produce biopics including the 1979 film The Rose (loosely based on Janis Joplin), the 1996 television movie Norma Jean & Marilyn , the 1998 television movie Gia , and the 2001 television movie James Dean .

Personal life and death

Worth was married to his wife Joan, an artist, for 44 years. They had three children. [3] On April 22, 1998, Worth died of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, a form of lung cancer, in Los Angeles. [4]

Selected filmography

He was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.


1970 Where's Poppa?
1974 Lenny
1977 Fire Sale
1979 The Rose
1980 Up the Academy
1982 Soup for One
1984 Unfaithfully Yours
Falling in Love
1987 Less than Zero
1988 Patty Hearst
1989 See No Evil, Hear No Evil
1990 Flashback
1992 Malcolm X
1996 Diabolique Final film as a producer
As an actor
1977 Fire Sale Milton
As writer
1962 Boys' Night Out
1965 Promise Her Anything
1966 Three on a Couch
1979 The Rose
1989 See No Evil, Hear No Evil
Miscellaneous crew
1984 Rhinestone Presenter


YearTitleCreditNotesOther notes
1966 Vacation Playhouse
1971The SheriffExecutive producerTelevision film
1979 Where's Poppa? Executive producerTelevision pilot
1992 Running Mates Television film
1996 Norma Jean & Marilyn Executive producerTelevision film
1998 Gia Executive producerTelevision film
Criminal LawTelevision film
2001 James Dean Executive producer
Television film
As writer
1956 Stanley
Washington Square
1957The Polly Bergen Show
General Motors 50th Anniversary Show Television special
1958 The Dinah Shore Chevy Show
1959−60 The Steve Allen Show
1960The Chevy Show
1961The New Steve Allen Show
1962The Steve Allen Playhouse
1963−64 The Judy Garland Show
1965 Get Smart
1966The Milton Berle Show
Script and continuity department
1963 The Judy Garland Show
1993But... SeriouslyThanksDocumentary

Award nominations

YearAwardResultCategoryFilm or series
1973 Academy Award Nominated Best Documentary, Features Malcolm X(Shared with Arnold Perl)
1975 Best Picture Lenny
1998 Emmy Award Outstanding Made for Television Movie Gia(Shared with James D. Brubaker, David R. Ginsburg, and Ilene Kahn)
1985 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Picture Rhinestone (Shared with Howard Smith)

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  1. 1 2 Oliver, Myrna (April 24, 1998). "Marvin Worth; Producer of 'Lenny,' 'Malcolm X'". The L.A. Times. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  2. "Cliff Gorman: Dynamic star of 'Lenny' and 'The Boys in the Band'". September 16, 2002. Archived from the original on May 2, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  3. McLellan, Dennis (December 31, 2006). "Joan Worth, 72; theatrical writer-producer". Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  4. Galloway, Doug (April 1998). "Marvin Worth (Writer/producer, age 72)". Archived from the original on August 12, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2009.