American film, television and theatrical producer. He was born James Burton Lenhart. After graduating from Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, he travelled to Hollywood where he became an assistant to band leader Carmen Cavallaro and then to actor Charles Laughton. It was with Laughton he went on a lecture tour starting in 1949. He learned much from his mentor and later produced several Broadway plays, which included the highly-successful "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial", "The Marriage Go-Around" and "Lord Pengo." He bought the rights of the novel "Night of the Hunter" by Davis Grubb and produced it into a motion picture in 1955, which Laughton directed and which starred Robert Mitchum. His second film as producer was "The Naked and the Dead" in 1958, which would be the only other film he produced. He won an Emmy Award in 1955 for Best Television Adaptation for "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial." He was largely responsible for launching the acting career of actor James Garner, who's first acting role was in "Caine Mutiny." He married film star Janet Gaynor in 1964. The couple were involved in a horrific car accident in 1982, which seriously injured Gaynor who eventually would succumb to her injuries. After the death of Gaynor, he married art gallery owner Kathryn Obergfel. Still suffering from acute pain for many years since the accident, he tragically took his own life at age 95. The exact day of his death could not be determined, but it was likely on Christmas Day.
Gravesite Details His remains were cremated.
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