Arthur Manson, a leading film executive whose career in marketing and distribution encompassed numerous Oscar-winning films and ran from the 1940s until his retirement in 2017, died peacefully at his home in Riverdale on Monday, May 14, 2018. He was 90.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1928, he was a graduate of City College of New York. Manson followed his brother Alan into the entertainment business as “advance agent” for Laurence Olivier’s legendary version of “Henry V” in 1948. He served in the U.S. Army’s Division 1 immediately after WWII in the Allied-occupied Germany, where he was a reporter for Stars and Stripes. He rose to become a sought-after advisor and mentor to Hollywood movers and shakers, including Oliver Stone, Scott Rudin, Miramax, the Weinstein Company, Joseph E. Levine and Stanley Kubrick. In a career that spanned Hollywood’s golden era, he was responsible for the marketing and distribution of such films as “Walking Tall,” “Platoon,” “JFK,” “Hotel Rwanda,” “All the President’s Men,” “A Star Is Born,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Cinema Paradiso,” “The Great Santini,” “Angela’s Ashes,” “The Cider House Rules” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Manson brought innovative strategies and techniques to film marketing.
Manson worked for and with some of Hollywood’s biggest studios and entertainment figures, including MGM, Samuel Goldwyn Productions, Stanley Kramer Productions, Columbia Pictures, Dino De Laurentis, 20th Century Fox, BCP (Cox Enterprises) and Warner Bros. Manson was responsible for the worldwide rollout of Stanley Warner’s ultra-wide-screen Cinerama films. Manson became Vice President of Marketing and Distribution for Warner Brothers Worldwide in 1976, overseeing the marketing of “All the President’s Men,” “A Star Is Born” (starring Barbara Streisand) and “The Enforcer” (starring Clint Eastwood), among others.
Guided by an unwavering sense of ethics and enthusiasm, Manson later founded his own consulting company, Cinemax Marketing and Distribution Corporation, with offices in New York and Los Angeles. The company was later renamed CineManson. In that role, he consulted with Oliver Stone, Scott Rudin, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, and the Weinstein brothers, among others. Manson founded the New York events committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—the industry group best known for the annual Oscars ceremony. He hosted the annual Oscar night party in New York City and served as chairman of the events committee from 1989 to 2004.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, former president of the Academy, said, “Arthur Manson had a huge impact on my career. He taught me about the importance of marketing and distribution and its impact on the success of a motion picture. I valued his professionalism, his abundant knowledge of the business and his love of our industry. He was my mentor and my dear friend. I will miss him." Oliver Stone, another close friend and client, had this to say: “It’s hard to express how great Arthur is. He represents the best virtues of the business.” In a recent personal communication, Stone wrote, “You make me proud and always have given me great inspiration as to how a man should behave.”
Manson was married for 65 years to Florence Sando Manson, a pioneering newscaster in Pittsburgh radio and television. She predeceased Arthur in 2013 at age 95. They lived in the Bronx neighborhood of Riverdale for 60 years. Arthur Manson was a longtime member of the Riverdale Yacht Club and the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel. Arthur Manson is survived by a daughter, Cynthia Manson; her husband, Jeffrey Faville; their children, James and Catherine; and a son, Anthony Sando Manson; his wife, Angela North Manson; and their children, Daniel, William and Timothy.
A small service for the immediate family and friends will be held at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel on Wednesday, May 16 at 10:00 am. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Calvary Fund, 1740 Eastchester Road, Bronx, NY 10461, (Please note in memory of Arthur Manson).