Benjamin Melniker, who produced several “Batman” projects, was an executive producer on “Justice League,” and was an executive at MGM, has died. He was 104.
Fellow “Batman” producer Michael Uslan took to Facebook on Tuesday to share the news, “It is with such sadness that I tell you of the passing of my Batman partner, the legendary Benjamin Melniker (1913-2018).”
Melniker died in Roslyn Harbor, New York, on Monday.
Melniker was born on May 25, 1913. He first started at MGM in 1939 and eventually became an executive vice president and chairman of the Film Selection Committee. During his time at MGM, he was involved in the deals for “Ben Hur,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Dr. Zhivago.”
“Ben negotiated the Paramount Consent Decree of 1948 in which the government ordered the split between Loews and MGM. He appeared before the Supreme Court with also legendary lawyer, Louis Nizer,” added Uslan in his tribute. “In the 1970’s, Ben invented the Canadian Tax Shelter deal used to finance many movies of that era.”
After leaving the studio, he became an executive producer on movies that included “Mitchell.” His other credits include “Batman,” “Batman Returns,” “Batman Forever,” “Batman & Robin,” “Catwoman,” “Constantine,” “Swamp Thing,” “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The LEGO Movie,” and most recently, “Justice League.”
“Ben was a humble man, never wishing attention,” wrote Uslan. “He turned down endless requests to write his book or do interviews about The Golden Age of Hollywood, especially in his latter years as he became the last mogul standing from that era. He told me that he knew all the stories of what transpired behind the curtain at MGM in those decades, but would never reveal things that could negatively impact those people, their children or their grandchildren. Ben was a mensch.”
And he concluded his tribute with: “He was my partner. He helped make my dreams come true. He was my second father. I always knew this day had to come, but after 105 years, I never thought it would. ‘Benjamin Melniker.’ Remember the name. He has left it behind for all the rest of us to aspire to.”
See Uslan’s Facebook post below.