|Birth: ||Aug. 20, 1926|
|Death: ||May 3, 1990|
Mary Lea Johnson Richards, a founder and partner of the Producer Circle, a New York film and theatrical production company, died May 3, 1990 at Presbyterian University Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she had a liver transplant two weeks before. She was 63 years old and had homes in New York, Southampton, L.I., and Boca Raton, Fla.
Since it was formed in 1976, the Producer Circle - founded by Mrs. Richards with her husband, Martin Richards, Robert Fryer and James Cresson - won 22 Tony Awards. It produced such Broadway shows as ''On the Twentieth Century,'' ''Sweeney Todd,'' ''La Cage aux Folles,'' ''Crimes of the Heart,'' which won a Pulitzer Prize, and ''Grand Hotel.'' Its Off Broadway productions included ''March of the Falsettos'' and ''Mayor.'' Among the company's films were ''The Boys From Brazil,'' ''The Shining'' and ''Fort Apache, the Bronx.''
Mrs. Richards was born on Aug. 20, 1926, in New Brunswick, N.J. She was the oldest daughter of J. Seward Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune, and his first wife, Ruth Dill Johnson. She was a graduate of the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Johnson's first marriage was to William Ryan, a press agent turned farmer. Before they divorced, the pair had six children: Eric Ryan, Seward Ryan, Hillary Ryan, Quentin Ryan, Roderick Newbold Ryan, and Alice Ryan Marriott.
In 1972, she married Dr. Victor D'Arc, a psychiatrist, whom she met while seeking treatment for her son's drug addiction. In 1976, she publicly declared that her estranged husband and his homosexual lover had hired hitmen to have her murdered. Johnson, who was living with gay Broadway producer Marty Richards, hired a bodyguard, who was beaten almost to death during a break in that almost killed Johnson and Richards. Subsequently, the Bronx D.A's office made a case, and opened an investigation. No charges were brought, and the pair divorced in 1978.
Johnson's third marriage would be to Richards, and last until her death
John Seward Johnson (1895 - 1983)
Ruth Rapalje Neilson Dill Johnson-Crockett (1904 - 1987)
Martin Richards (1932 - 2012)
Created by: RD Warren
Record added: Apr 04, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 107793027