Movie maverick Melnick dead at 77

The former head of production at MGM and Columbia studios made his name by signing off on bold and often controversial films like Straw Dogs, Network and Making Love.

Paying tribute to the mogul, his protege Sherry Lansing tells the Los Angeles Times newspaper, “He was an extraordinary producer and an extraordinary executive. He always thought out of the box and was never afraid to take a risk.”

Melnick was also the brains behind cult TV show Get Smart.

He won Emmys in the mid 1960s for John Gielgud’s Shakespearean TV special Ages of Man and Death of a Salesman.

Sam Peckinpah’s violent and controversial Straw Dogs was the first film Melnick produced.

He also helped to develop classic movies like Midnight Express, Kramer Vs. Kramer, All That Jazz and The China Syndrome at Columbia.

Melnick also produced 1984’s Footloose and Steve Martin’s revamp of the Cyrano De Bergerac tale, Roxanne.