Mark Damon

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Mark Damon
Damon in March 2011
BornAlan Harris
April 22, 1933 (1933-04-22) (age 81)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
OccupationFilm actor, producer
Spouse(s)Barbara Frey (1971-1973)
Margaret Markov (1974-present; 2 children)
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Mark Damon
Damon in March 2011
BornAlan Harris
April 22, 1933 (1933-04-22) (age 81)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
OccupationFilm actor, producer
Spouse(s)Barbara Frey (1971-1973)
Margaret Markov (1974-present; 2 children)

Mark Damon (born April 22, 1933) is an American film actor and producer. He rose to fame through acting roles in films like Roger Corman’s House of Usher, before moving to Italy and becoming a notable Western star and member of the 1960s Dolce Vita set of actors and actresses in Rome. After starring in over 50 films in the United States and Europe, he quit acting and reinvented himself as a film producer and pioneer of the foreign sales business in the 1970s, and became one of Hollywood’s most prolific producers.

Early life[edit]

Mark Damon was born Alan Harris in Chicago, Illinois, the son of a grocer. His family was Jewish, and their surname had originally been "Herskovitz".[1] Damon moved to Los Angeles, California at a young age where he attended Fairfax High School.[2] As a senior in high school, he was scouted as an actor by Groucho Marx, but chose to attend dental school at UCLA. He soon switched to the Anderson School of Management, eventually graduating with an MBA and a BA in English. Damon also began taking theater classes, and decided that he wanted a career as an actor.[3]



In 1956, Damon started his career in Hollywood. He signed a contract with 20th Century Fox[4] and their Regal Pictures affiliate appearing in such films as Between Heaven and Hell (1956) and This Rebel Breed (1957).[5]

In 1960, Damon starred opposite Vincent Price in the first of Roger Corman's famous series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, House of Usher, written by Richard Matheson.[6] He won a Golden Globe Award as a "Star of Tomorrow" for his performance in the film.[5] After an invitation from renowned director Luchino Visconti, he relocated to Rome, Italy, where he starred in over 40 films,[7] including many classic spaghetti westerns like Johnny Oro and Johnny Yuma (1966).[5]


Damon eventually gave up acting in the mid-1970s to become a film producer. He first entered the world of independent sales and production in the 1970s while living and working in Italy where he saw a huge market of independent international distributors eager for top American movies.[8] When he returned to the U.S. in 1977 he founded Producers Sales Organization (PSO). His goal was to sell important American pictures to international distributors, the first such company to compete with the major studios.[9] Damon’s subsequent success with PSO led to his reputation as the inventor of the foreign sales business and the brains behind independent film production.[10] His early visionary contributions to the international distribution of independently produced films are widely recognized and he has developed a reputation in the entertainment industry as not only one of the leading producers and distributors of independent films,[11] but as the “legendary Mark Damon”[12] for his contribution to independent film finance structures by developing the industry-standard practice of pre-selling foreign rights and banking the distribution contracts.[8]

Over the past 25 years, Damon’s productions have grossed over $2 billion in theatrical box office worldwide.[13] Damon has been directly involved in the international licensing of over 300 feature length pictures, including such noteworthy box-office titles as the James Bond film Never Say Never Again, directed by Irvin Kershner and starring Sean Connery, Prizzi's Honor, directed by John Huston and featuring Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston, Once Upon A Time In America, directed by Sergio Leone and featuring Robert De Niro and James Woods, Cotton Club, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring Richard Gere and The Final Countdown, starring Kirk Douglas.[5]

Damon has produced or executive produced over 70 films, and his films have received 10 Oscar nominations including: the 2005 Academy Award winner Monster, starring Charlize Theron, the critically acclaimed, multi-Oscar nominated World War II drama Das Boot, directed by Wolfgang Petersen and The NeverEnding Story, also directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Other acclaimed films include The Upside of Anger, starring Oscar nominee Joan Allen and Kevin Costner, 9 ½ Weeks, directed by Adrian Lyne, 8 Million Ways to Die, directed by Hal Ashby, Short Circuit, directed by John Badham, High Spirits directed by Neil Jordan, The Choirboys directed by Robert Aldrich, The Lost Boys, directed by Joel Schumacher, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, directed by Stephen Sommers, The Musketeer directed by Peter Hyams and Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, also directed by Peter Hyams, and starring Michael Douglas. Damon was a founding member of the American Film Marketing Association (now IFTA) and is a recurring board member of the IFTA.[13]

In 2005, Damon founded film production, financing, and sales company Foresight Unlimited. Foresight handled international sales for, co-financed, and produced the Rob Reiner comedy And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. The company served as executive producer on Universal Studios’ 2 Guns, starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington, and Universal’s Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Damon lives with his wife Maggie (née Markov) in Beverly Hills, California. They have two children.


2014And So It GoesProducerStarring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton
2013Lone SurvivorExecutive ProducerStarring Mark Wahlberg
20132 GunsExecutive ProducerStarring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg
2012Universal Soldier: Day of ReckoningExecutive ProducerStarring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren
2011FlypaperProducerStarring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd
2011The LedgeProducerStarring Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, and Terrence Howard
2009Universal Soldier: RegenerationExecutive ProducerStarring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren
2009Beyond A Reasonable DoubtProducerStarring Michael Douglas
2008It's AliveExecutive Producer
2006O JerusalemProducer
2005The Upside of AngerExecutive ProducerStarring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen
2004Beyond The SeaExecutive ProducerStarring Kevin Spacey
2004The I InsideProducer
2003MonsterProducerStarring Charlize Theron
Academy Award for Best Actress
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature
200311:14Executive Producer
2003The United States of LelandExecutive ProducerStarring Don Cheadle
2002Extreme OpsExecutive Producer
2002FeardotComExecutive Producer
2001The MusketeerExecutive Producer
2001The BodyExecutive Producer
2000Love & SexExecutive Producer
1999Eye of the BeholderExecutive ProducerStarring Ewan MacGregor
1999A Dog of FlandersExecutive Producer
1997DeceiverWayland's Father
Executive Producer
1997The BlackoutExecutive Producer
1996The WinnerExecutive Producer
1994"The Jungle Book"Executive Producer
1993StalingradExecutive Producer
1991Diary of a HitmanExecutive Producer
1990Vietnam, TexasExecutive Producer
1989Wild OrchidProducerStarring Mickey Rourke
1988High SpiritsExecutive Producer
1988Mac and MeExecutive Producer
1987The Lost BoysExecutive Producer
1986Flight of the NavigatorExecutive Producer
1986Short CircuitExecutive Producer
19868 Million Ways to DieExecutive ProducerStarring Jeff Bridges
19869 1/2 WeeksProducerStarring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger
Directed by Adrian Lyne
1986The Clan of the Cave BearExecutive Producer
1984MetropolisSales AgentDirected by Fritz Lang
1984The NeverEnding StoryExecutive ProducerDirected by Wolfgang Petersen
1981Das BootExecutive ProducerDirected by Wolfgang Petersen
Nominated for Six Academy Awards
1977The ChoirboysExecutive Producer
1974There is No 13George Thomas
1974The ArenaProducerStarred Damon's future wife Margaret Markov
1973"Hannah, Queen of the Vampires"Peter
1973The Devil's Wedding NightKarl Schiller
1973Little MotherRiano
1972Byleth - il demone dell'incestoDuke Lionello Shandwell
1972Great Treasure HuntKansas Lee
1972I leoni di PietroburgoEldar
1972Confessioni segrete di un convento di clausuraDomenico
1972They Call Him VeritasVeritas
1971The Scalawag BunchAllen
1971Ivanhoe, the Norman SwordsmanIvanhoe
1971Pistol Packin' PreacherSlim
1968Dead Men Don't CountJohnny Dalton
1968AnzioWally RichardsonDirected by Edward Dmytryk
1968All OutJohnny
1968The Young, the Evil, and the SavageRichard Barrett
1968Un treno per DurangoBrown
1967Colpo doppio del camaleonte d'oroVittorio
1967No Killing Without DollarsLaurence
1967RequiescantGeorge FergusonAlso starring Pier Paolo Pasolini
1966Johnny YumaJohnny Yuma
1966Johnny OroJohnny Oro/RingoDirected by Sergio Corbucci
1966How Do I Love You?Luis
1965Secret Agent 777"Dr. Bardin
1964Son of CleopatraEl Kebir
1964100 HorsemenDon Fernando Herrera y Menendez
1963The Tyrant of CastilePietro I: Re di Castiglia
1963Black SabbathVladimire d'UrfeAlso starring Boris Karloff
Directed by Mario Bava
1963The Shortest DayUn ufficiale austriacoDirected by Sergio Corbucci
1963The Young RacersStephen ChildrenDirected by Roger Corman
1962The Reluctant SaintAldoDirected by Edward Dmytryk
1962The Longest DayPvt. HarrisAlso starring Richard Burton and Sean Connery
1962Beauty and the BeastEduardo
1962Peccati d'estateDr. Gianni Orgei
1960House of UsherPhilip WinthropWon Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Also starring Vincent Price
Directed by Roger Corman
Screenplay by Richard Matheson
1960This Rebel BreedFrank Serano
1958Party CrashersTwig Webster
1958Life Begins at 17Russ Lippincott
1957Young and DangerousTommy Price
1956Between Heaven and HellPvt. Terry Co. G
1956Screaming EaglesPvt. Lambert
1956Inside DetroitGregg Linden


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Schreyer, Linda and Mark Damon (2008). From Cowboy To Mogul To Monster: The Neverending Story of Film Pioneer Mark Damon. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-4343-7736-4. 
  3. ^ Schreyer and Damon, From Cowboy, 42-43.
  4. ^ Anderson, Susan Heller (May 25, 1980). "He Sells Hollywood to Europe". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Mark Damon - IMDb". 
  6. ^ Damon Makes Late Escape From Teens: Damon 25, Finally Escapes From Teens Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 31 July 1960: F1.
  7. ^ Achiron, Marilyn (June 24, 1985). "Is There Life After Spaghetti?". Newsweek. 
  8. ^ a b Natale, Richard (October 22, 1984). "It takes the right accent to sell U.S. films abroad". Los Angeles Herald Examiner. 
  9. ^ Paris, Ellen (February 27, 1984). "Ronald Reagan is not the only actor who made good". Forbes. 
  10. ^ Abrams, Rachel (May 20, 2013). "Foresight CEO Mark Damon Looks Back at Cannes". Variety. 
  11. ^ Landro, Laura (April 16, 1985). "Overseas Distributor Takes On Big Studios By Doing Own Films". The Wall Street Journal. 
  12. ^ "Quote From "Seduced and Abandoned"". 
  13. ^ a b c "Mark Damon - CEO". 

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