Los Angeles Times

Prolific producer won Oscar for ‘Spotlight,’ nurtured filmmakers

- By Josh Rottenberg

Producer Steve Golin, who won an Oscar for the 2015 newspaper drama “Spotlight” and whose keen eye for talent helped launch the filmmaking careers of directors such as David Fincher, Spike Jonze and Michael Bay, died Sunday in Los Angeles at age 64.

The prolific Golin, who left an indelible mark on both the independen­t film and television worlds, had been battling cancer, according to his representa­tives.

“We are devastated by Steve’s passing,” Golin’s partners at Anonymous Content, the management company he founded and of which he was chief executive, wrote in a statement. “He was a trailblaze­r in the industry, a devoted colleague, a remarkable leader and a truly kind man. He was a rare individual who encompasse­d intense creativity with a keen business mind.”

Golin received three best picture nomination­s for producing “Babel,” “The Revenant” and “Spotlight,” the latter two of which were nominated the same year. His other credits include such films as David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart,” Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and last year’s gay-conversion drama, “Boy Erased.” He earned three Emmy nomination­s

for his television work, which included the series “True Detective,” “Mr. Robot” and “13 Reasons Why.”

Golin had a reputation as a strong supporter of filmmakers, with impeccable taste and a willingnes­s to take chances where others might fear to tread.

When Jonze brought Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay for “Being John Malkovich” — a bizarro, uncategori­zable tale about a puppeteer who finds a portal that leads into Malkovich’s mind, that no studio executive was eager to make — to Golin, he was so thrilled by its originalit­y that he went to Polygram chief Michael Kuhn and gave him the hard sell.

“I totally hustled him,” Golin told The Times in 2004. “Michael kept saying, ‘I’m never making this movie,’ and I kept saying, ‘Oh, yes you are.’ ”

In the end, “Being John Malkovich” proved a cult hit and earned three Oscar nomination­s, including director and original screenplay.

On Twitter, director Edgar Wright called Golin “a champion of diverting, cutting-edge cinema,” while Black List founder Franklin Leonard praised him as “an ally to storytelle­rs in Hollywood.”

“I was proud to call Steve a friend and a partner,” Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and a board member at Anonymous Content, said in a statement. “I admired him greatly. His talent and kindness inspired me and everyone around him.”

Golin began his career in the mid-1980s when, along with fellow American Film Institute alum Joni Sighvatsso­n, he produced the straight-to-video films “Hard Rock Zombies” and “American Drive-In.” In 1986, the two launched Propaganda Films, which, at the height of the MTV era quickly establishe­d itself as a powerhouse in music videos and commercial­s. It was there that Golin helped discover and nurture such future filmmakers as Jonze, Fincher, Bay and Antoine Fuqua.

In 1999, after selling Propaganda Films, Golin founded Anonymous Content, building an impressive roster of talent including filmmakers Steven Soderbergh, Alfonso Cuaron and Cary Fukunaga, and actors such as Emma Stone, Mahershala Ali, Winona Ryder and Samuel L. Jackson.

In risk-averse Hollywood, Golin knew that his passion for originalit­y didn’t always make for the easiest path. But the producer, who survived a rare form of bone cancer in the early 2000s that led to the loss of his shoulder blade, wasn’t one to give up easily.

“I admire producers like Saul Zaentz and Scott Rudin, because I think we’re alike — we have to make movies we care about,” he told The Times. “But getting them made is tough.”

Golin is survived by his two children, Anna and Ari; his stepdaught­er Blue; his longtime life partner Violaine Etienne; brother Larry Golin; sister Susan Dickson; and former wife Vilborg Aradottir Golin.

 ?? Ann Johansson For The Times ?? “TRAILBLAZE­R” Steve Golin in 2004. He produced two best picture nominees in 2015: “The Revenant” and “Spotlight.”
Ann Johansson For The Times “TRAILBLAZE­R” Steve Golin in 2004. He produced two best picture nominees in 2015: “The Revenant” and “Spotlight.”

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