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Richard A. Roth


1940 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Richard A. Roth Obituary
September 16, 1940 - March 17, 2017 The Hollywood producer who made the iconic coming-of-age movie, "Summer of '42" (1971), died on Friday at his home in New York City. He was 76 and died of natural causes, his family said. Roth, who attended University of California Los Angeles, University of California Berkeley and the University of Vienna, and graduated from Stanford Law School, was working for a small literary agency when he happened on the screenplay for "Summer of '42" languishing in the slush pile. He fell in love with the script and saw something in it no one else did. With $5,000 borrowed from his father to option the script, he brought it to director Robert Mulligan and together they convinced Warner Bros. to make it for $1 million, a low budget film for a large studio, even then. The movie became a commercial and critical smash success, earning over $32 million at the box office and garnering five academy award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Score, for which Michel Legrand won the Oscar. In addition, it was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Director. The hit song, "The Summer Knows" (lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman), based on Le Grand's theme, was recorded by Barbra Streisand that same year and went on to become a classic, with covers by such artists as Frank Sinatra in 1974. Roth went on to produce "Our Time," released in 1974, just after the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. It was a courageous and early exploration of abortion in the 1950's at an all-girls school. He also produced the comedy, "Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother" (1975), on which he collaborated with his good friends Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman and Madeline Kahn, and "Outland" (1981), a space thriller loosely based on "High Noon," starring Sean Connery, who also became a close friend. As an actor, he also had a cameo in "Young Frankenstein" (1974). Other friends and collaborators included Mel Brooks, Nora Ephron, Peter Hyams and Robert Mulligan. He worked briefly for CBS Entertainment in the 1980's. He was an avid yachtsman and named one of his favorite boats after one of his favorite films of all time, "New Voyager." Roth, who will be dearly missed, leaves behind his beloved wife, Sharon Hayes Roth; stepson, Richard Hayes Mathers; sister, Diane Colman; brother-in-law, Albert Colman; nieces Juliann Garey and Lisa Renee Garey; grandnephew, Gabriel Garey Levine; grandniece, Emmanuelle Garey Levine; and his business manager and lifelong friends, Mads Bjorn Bjerre and Susan Bjerre. It was Roth's wish that there be no formal memorial service.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Mar. 25, 2017
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