Sunday, June 04, 2023

Mark Tarlov Dies: Producer of ‘Copycat,’ ‘Power’ And A Trio Of John Waters’ Movies Was 69

Mark Tarlov, who produced such films as Copycat and Serial Mom, passed away on July 31st after a battle with cancer. His family made the announcement. Tarlov was 69.

Tarlov landed his first entertainment job in Business Affairs at Warner Bros. in 1979. Four years later, he EP’d his first feature, Christine, based on the Stephen King novel and directed by John Carpenter. Next, he produced Sidney Lumet’s Power starring Richard Gere, Gene Hackman and Julie Christie.

In the ’90s Tarlov worked with the British novelist William Boyd to transform the Mario Vargas Llosa novel, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter into the offbeat film, Tune in Tomorrow, directed by Jon Amiel and starring Keanu Reeves, Peter Falk, Barbara Hershey, Patricia Clarkson and John Larroquette. His collaboration with William Boyd grew into a lifelong friendship and yielded another film based on Boyd’s novel, A Good Man in Africa starring Colin Friels, Sean Connery, John Lithgow, Diana Rigg and Louis Gossett, Jr.

William Boyd remembered Tarlov: “We worked on many film projects over the years, but it was our friendship that became the most abiding factor of our collaboration. His many enthusiasms were tackled with the same all-consuming verve as he approached whatever job he was doing at the time. He was an intellectual – very clever and great, amusing, highly stimulating company – with a roving, deeply curious mind.”

With his longtime producing partner, John Fiedler, Mark produced three John Waters’ movies: Cecil B. Demented starring Melanie Griffith and Stephen Dorff, Serial Mom starring Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterston, and Pecker starring Christina Ricci. He worked again with Jon Amiel when he produced Copycat, starring Holly Hunter and Sigourney Weaver.

In addition to his producing work, Tarlov also directed two films. The romantic comedy Simply Irresistible starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean Patrick Flanery and Patricia Clarkson was a collaboration with the screenwriter Judith Roberts to whom he was married and regularly worked with over the course of their almost 40-year relationship. The 2004 rock musical Temptation, starring Zoe Saldana and a cast of Broadway stars including Michael Cerveris, Adam Pascal, Alice Ripley and Orfeh combined CGI animated backgrounds for live actors who performed on green screen.

In 2006, Tarlov embarked on a career in the wine industry and started Evening Land Vineyards making wines mainly in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. In 2012, he started Chapter 24 Vineyards. Tarlov’s wines earned six 96 point ratings, more than any other producer in Oregon.

Tarlov started his career a long way from Hollywood of the vineyards of Oregan. He was Chief Justice Warren Burger’s speechwriter while still in college. He then became a prosecutor in Washington D.C. and then a lawyer at the U.S. Department of Justice following his graduation from Columbia Law School.

Born in Norwalk, CT in 1952, Tarlov is survived by his wife, Judy (Judith); his daughters Jessica Tarlov, who is a VP at Bustle Digital Group and liberal political contributor at Fox News; and Molly Tarlov who is an actress; and grandson Harry.


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