Martin Richards: Producer


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The Independent Online

Martin Richards, who died of cancer on 26 November at the age of 80, was the producer of the original Chicago on Broadway and went on to win an Academy Award for producing the film version. He was also the Tony Award-winning producer behind such Broadway hits as Sweeney Todd and The Will Rogers Follies. His other films included The Shining, Boys From Brazil and Fort Apache, The Bronx.

Chicago marked Richards' Broadway debut as a producer. After mixed reviews it went on to run for 936 performances, and Richards spent the best part of two decades striving to bring it to the big screen. In 2002 his dream was realised, and with Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere in starring roles it brought Richards an Oscar to go with the dozens of Tony Awards he won.

Richards most recently produced the musical Big Maybelle: Soul of the Blues at the Bay Street Theatre in New York, this summer. His other Broadway productions include Crimes of the Heart and La Cage Aux Folles.

Along with his late wife, Mary Lea Johnson, with whom he had a happy marriage, although he was gay, Richards helped found Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and Meals on Wheels. Richards also created the New York Center for Children to care for abused children and their families.