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Mark Johnson

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: December 27, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Washington, Washington D.C., USA Profession: producer, assistant director, production assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Although executive producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber grabbed an Oscar the night "Rain Man" (1988) won Best Picture honors and posed for a widely-circulated picture, the real winner of the statuette was the film's producer Mark Johnson, longtime collaborator of its director Barry Levinson. The pair met on the set of the Mel Brooks comedy "High Anxiety" (1977) where Levinson was the screenwriter and Johnson an assistant director, and their partnership began in earnest when Johnson executive produced Levinson's acclaimed directorial debut, "Diner" (1982). After that, he served as producer on all 10 of Levinson's movies through "Jimmy Hollywood" (1994), as well as co-executive producing the short-lived ABC comedy series "Harry" (1987). Although the self-effacing Johnson does not attribute any of the artistic achievement of these films (including "The Natural" 1984, "Tin Men" 1987, "Avalon" 1990, and "Bugsy" 1991) to his efforts, he clearly showed a sensitive and supportive talent for opening creative spaces for Levinson, his actors and crew.Johnson and Levinson were all set to make "Donnie Brasco" (1997) with Al Pacino and Tom Cruise when "GoodFellas" (1990) came out and "no one wanted to compete with...

Although executive producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber grabbed an Oscar the night "Rain Man" (1988) won Best Picture honors and posed for a widely-circulated picture, the real winner of the statuette was the film's producer Mark Johnson, longtime collaborator of its director Barry Levinson. The pair met on the set of the Mel Brooks comedy "High Anxiety" (1977) where Levinson was the screenwriter and Johnson an assistant director, and their partnership began in earnest when Johnson executive produced Levinson's acclaimed directorial debut, "Diner" (1982). After that, he served as producer on all 10 of Levinson's movies through "Jimmy Hollywood" (1994), as well as co-executive producing the short-lived ABC comedy series "Harry" (1987). Although the self-effacing Johnson does not attribute any of the artistic achievement of these films (including "The Natural" 1984, "Tin Men" 1987, "Avalon" 1990, and "Bugsy" 1991) to his efforts, he clearly showed a sensitive and supportive talent for opening creative spaces for Levinson, his actors and crew.

Johnson and Levinson were all set to make "Donnie Brasco" (1997) with Al Pacino and Tom Cruise when "GoodFellas" (1990) came out and "no one wanted to compete with Martin Scorsese," so they shelved the movie indefinitely, eventually casting Johnny Depp opposite Pacino. Away from Levinson, Johnson produced Clint Eastwood's "A Perfect World" (1993) and Alfonso Cuaron's remake of "The Little Princess" (1995), the third film adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel "Sarah Crewe". Don Parisot's "Home Fries" (1998), starring Drew Barrymore, reteamed him with Levinson (and Lawrence Kasdan and Charles Newirth) as producers, and he executive produced Rand Ravich's "The Astronaut's Wife" (1999). Among the numerous projects Johnson has in various stages of development are the TV pilot "Falcone", based on the same material that was the basis for "Donnie Brasco", and a screen version of Nicholas Sparks' best-seller "The Notebook" (lensed 1999).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Notebook, The (2004)
3.
 Drew Barrymore (1999) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1953:
Moved to Spain with mother, brother and sister at age seven
:
Worked as an extra and in bit roles as a child in several American and British films shot on location in Spain
1964:
Moved back to the United States at age 18 to enroll at the University of Virginia
1974:
Moved to New York City; worked as a production assistant on TV commercials; began in editing, later assumed responsibilities related to producing
1976:
Studies with DGA program led to first feature film credit as production assistant on Paul Mazursky's "Next Stop, Greenwich Village"
1977:
Worked as an assistant director on Mel Brooks' "High Anxiety"; first met Barry Levinson, one of the film's writers
:
Worked his way up from second assistant director to first assistant director on such films as "Movie Movie" (1978), "The Brink's Job" (1978) and "Escape from Alcatraz" (1979); the latter marked first collaboration with Clint Eastwood
1980:
Served as executive in charge of production on William Friedkin's controversial "Cruising", starring Al Pacino
1982:
First collaboration with director/screenwriter Levinson; executive produced "Diner"
1983:
Produced "Diner", a half-hour TV adaptation for CBS of the successful feature film; unsold pilot based on the successful film
:
Formed Baltimore Pictures production company with Barry Levinson
1987:
Co-executive produced (with Levinson and star Alan Arkin) short-lived ABC comedy series, "Harry"
1988:
With Levinson, produced the Oscar-winning Best Picture "Rain Man"
1991:
First film produced by Baltimore Pictures not directed by Levinson, Steven Soderbergh's "Kafka"
1991:
Served as a producer (along with Levinson and star Warren Beatty) on the Academy Award nominated Best Picture "Bugsy"
:
Worked on several projects for 20th Century-Fox in the early 1990s
1993:
Reteamed with Clint Eastwood (who directed and co-starred) as producer of "A Perfect World"
1995:
Produced Alfonso Cuaron's remake of "The Little Princess"
1996:
Signed two-year production deal with DreamWorks
1997:
Reunited with Levinson as producer on "Donnie Brasco", helmed by Mike Newell and starring Pacino and Johnny Depp
1998:
One of four producers (along with Levinson, Lawrence Kasdan and Charles Newirth) for Don Parisot's "Home Fries", starring Drew Barrymore
1999:
Executive produced "The Astronaut's Wife", directed by Rand Ravich; project reuinted him with star Johnny Depp
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Virginia: Charlottesville , Virginia -
University of Iowa: Iowa City , Iowa -

Notes

Noting that Hollywood is a place where "the neuroses abound" and one has to "deal with this community tongue in cheek", Johnson describes his working relationship with Barry Levinson as follows: "I don't want to say that I'm better politically than Barry but I suspect I am. I've been the one who deals with the studio, the head of production. I see myself as an organizer, a planner, a facilitator, a sounding board. . . . I help him in terms of the protocol so when he starts directing he can be completely focused on the movie."

--Quoted in the NEW YORK TIMES, December 18, 1991

"New York has obstacles no other place in the world has, but what you get in return, that confluence of what's real with the fakery of movie making, is well worth it. This city has been good to me. I'd shoot in New York anytime." --Mark Johnson to DAILY NEWS, February 24, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lezlie Johnson.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Emory Johnson. Owned an air-cargo business. Divorced from Johnson's mother in the early 1950s; died in the 70s.
mother:
Dorothy King. Real estate sales agent.
brother:
David Johnson. Advertising art director.
daughter:
Rebecca Johnson.
son:
Jack Johnson.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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