Harold Hecht


Producer

About

Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
June 01, 1907
Died
May 26, 1985
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

With partner Burt Lancaster, one of the first Hollywood producers to break away from the traditional studio system and to handle every aspect of film production on an independent basis. Hecht first came to Hollywood as a dance director on several features of the early 1930s including the Marx Bros. college romp, "Horsefeathers" (1932) and the Mae West classic "She Done Him Wrong" (1933)....

Biography

With partner Burt Lancaster, one of the first Hollywood producers to break away from the traditional studio system and to handle every aspect of film production on an independent basis. Hecht first came to Hollywood as a dance director on several features of the early 1930s including the Marx Bros. college romp, "Horsefeathers" (1932) and the Mae West classic "She Done Him Wrong" (1933). He had previously performed on the New York stage as an actor and a dancer. Hecht began studying at the prestigious American Laboratory Theater at 16 and appeared in various local classical productions during his five-year stint there. He went on to dance with the Metropolitan Opera and Martha Graham companies.

Hecht left Hollywood for a time to join the Federal Theater Project in 1934. He returned to Tinseltown as an agent and, in this capacity, "discovered" the young Burt Lancaster in a NY show and brought him West. The pair formed Harold Hecht-Norma Productions in 1948 (renamed Hecht-Lancaster Productions in 1954 and finally Hecht-Lancaster-Hill Productions after the addition of partner James Hill) and produced "Kiss the Blood Off My Hands" (1948), a so-so noir starring Lancaster and Joan Fontaine. Their subsequent collaborations included "The Crimson Pirate" (1952), "Apache" and "Vera Cruz" (both 1954). Hecht won a 1955 Best Picture Oscar as the producer of "Marty," a modest and moving adaptation of the celebrated TV play by Paddy Chayevsky. His last production of note was the well-received Western comedy "Cat Ballou" (1965) starring Jane Fonda and the Oscar-winning Lee Marvin.

Life Events

1923

Joined the American Laboratory Theater at 16 to study drama; appeared on the NY stage in various classical productions (date approximate)

1934

Joined the Federal Theater Project

1948

Formed Harold Hecht-Norma Productions with Lancaster

1948

Feature debut as executive producer, "Kiss the Blood Off My Hands"

1954

Changed company name to Hecht-Lancaster Productions; later joined by James Hill

1962

Dissolved Hecht-Lancaster-Hill Productions

Videos

Movie Clip

Marty (1955) - I'm The Stocky One Unmarried butcher Ernest Borgnine (title character), in one of the scenes that doubtless won him his Academy Award, having grown alarmed over proposed changes in his domestic status, calls up a girl he hardly knows, Delbert Mann directing from Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay, in Marty, 1955.
Marty (1955) - Blind Date With A Dog Visiting the "Stardust Ballroom" in the Bronx, having grown desperate about his bachelor status, Ernest Borgnine (title character) meets callous "Herb," (Nick Brkch), whose treatment of Clara (Betsy Blair), whom we've just met, displeases him, in director Delbert Mann's Marty, 1955.
Marty (1955) - I Have A Feeling About You Having unexpectedly hit it off with Clara (Betsy Blair), a schoolteacher dumped on a blind date whom he graciously rescued, bachelor butcher Ernest Borgnine (title character) winds up talking about his life and family, in his Academy Award-winning performance in Marty, 1955.
Marty (1955) - They Get The Married The opening from director Delbert Mann and writer Paddy Chayefsky, Ernest Borgnine in his Academy Award-winning title role, character actress Minerva Urecal his customer, in Marty, 1955, co-starring Betsy Blair.
Separate Tables (1958) - Don't Get Into One Of Your States Opening scene, Delbert Mann directing, from Terence Rattigan’s screenplay based on his international hit play, we meet David Niven in his Academy Award-winning role as Major Pollock, Deborah Kerr as Sibyl, Gladys Cooper her mother, in Separate Tables, 1958.
Separate Tables (1958) - Mayfair From Head To Foot Early evening at the Hotel Beauregard, guests (Felix Aylmer, May Hallatt, Cathleen Nesbitt, Gladys Cooper) are not expecting Rita Hayworth, as Ann Shankland, greeted by proprietor Pat (Wendy Hiller), and seeking a guest we’ve not yet met, in Separate Tables, 1958.
Separate Tables (1958) - Propulsive Powers Of Irish Whiskey Sybil, her mother and Lady Matheson (Debora Herr, Gladys Cooper, Cathleen Nesbitt) react to the first appearance of Burt Lancaster as rogue-ish John Malcolm, whom we quickly learn has important relations with the hotel owner Pat (Wendy Hiller), in Separate Tables, 1958.
Devil's Disciple, The (1959) - Men Of The Same British Stock As Ourselves Redcoat General Burgoyne (Laurence Olivier) warns aide Swindon (Harry Andrews) then doesn't quite meet preacher Anderson (Burt Lancaster), arrived too late to stop a hanging, in The Devil's Disciple, 1959, from the George Bernard Shaw play.
Separate Tables (1958) - Lies With Such Sincerity We’ve just met Burt Lancaster as maybe-disreputable American writer John, and know only that he’s a guest involved with the proprietor of the English coastal hotel, when he discovers Rita Hayworth, as Ann Shankland, whom we learn is his ex-wife, in Separate Tables, 1958.
Separate Tables (1958) - Most Praiseworthy Effort At their hotel on the southern coast of England, David Niven as Major Pollock, flaws in his persona beginning to show, with Rod Taylor as student Charles, Wendy Hiller as hotelier Pat, Felix Aylmer as Fowler, in Separate Tables, 1958, from Terence Rattigan's play and screenplay, directed by Delbert Mann.
Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) - To A Dead Crew! Crew of the Nerka (Jack Warden, Brad Dexter, et al) stands by as Commander Richardson (Clark Gable) ducks a Japanese convoy, and is challenged by his "Exec" Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster), in Robert Wise's Run Silent, Run Deep, 1958.
Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) - The Japs Must've Known! Commander Richardson (Clark Gable) on the bridge, sends Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster) below, launching the big confrontation with his nemesis the Japanese "Akikaze," in Robert Wise's Run Silent, Run Deep, 1958.

Trailer

Marty (1955) - (Original Trailer) Burt Lancaster, who produced with business partner Harold Hecht, hosts the original trailer the 1955 Best Picture Academy Award-winner, which also won for director Delbert Mann, Paddy Chayefsky’s story and screenplay, and Ernest Borgnine’s performance in the title role, Marty.
Devil's Disciple, The (1959) -- (Original Trailer) Co-stars and producers Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas top-billed, but sharing credit with their hired colleague Laurence Olivier, playing the British General Burgoyne, in the England-made and UA distributed The Devil’s Disciple, 1959, from the George Bernard Shaw play.
Separate Tables - (Original Trailer) Producer (and co-star) Burt Lancaster himself pitches Separate Tables, 1958, featuring Academy Award winners David Niven and Wendy Hiller.
Trapeze - (Original Trailer) A trapeze star (Burt Lancaster) loses his grip when he and his partner (Tony Curtis) fall for the same woman (Gina Lollobrigida) in Trapeze, 1956, directed by Carol Reed.
Run Silent, Run Deep - (Original Trailer) Officers on a WWII submarine clash during a perilous Pacific tour in Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) starring Clark Gable & Burt Lancaster.
Vera Cruz - (Original Trailer) During the Mexican Revolution, rival mercenaries team up to steal a fortune in gold in Vera Cruz (1954) starring Gary Cooper.
Birdman of Alcatraz - (Original Trailer) Burt Lancaster stars as Robert Stroud, the prison lifer who became an expert on birds in Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), featuring a music score by Elmer Bernstein.
Apache - (Textless Trailer) Burt Lancaster is one of Geronimo's chiefs who leads a one-man assault on the U.S. Cavalry in Robert Aldrich's Apache (1954).
Crimson Pirate, The - (Original Trailer) Burt Lancaster is The Crimson Pirate (1952) who gets mixed up in a Caribbean revolution.
Flame and The Arrow, The - (Original Trailer) Burt Lancaster is an archer who takes on Hessian invaders in the swashbuckler The Flame and The Arrow (1950).

Bibliography