David Foster, Producer of ‘The Getaway,’ Dies at 90

Varied credits also included “The Mask of Zorro” and “McCabe and Mrs. Miller”

Last Updated: December 25, 2019 @ 10:52 AM

David Foster, the prolific Hollywood producer whose credits included “The Getaway,” “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” two versions of “The Thing” and “The Mask of Zorro,” died on Monday, his family told TheWrap. He was 90.

Foster’s entertainment career spanned six decades.

He started as a publicist at Rogers and Cowan, representing top tier talent including Steve McQueen, Shirley MacLaine, Peter Sellers and Sonny and Cher. He then became a partner at Allan, Foster, Ingersoll and Weber.

In 1968, Foster moved to producing, partnering with Mitchell Brower to produce the Warren Beatty and Julie Christie film “McCabe and Mrs. Miller.” He produced McQueen’s 1971 hit “The Getaway.”

Additionally, he produced the 1981 comedy “Caveman” starring Ringo Starr, the heartwarming 1986 family sci-fi film “Short Circuit” and its 1988 sequel and two versions of the horror film “The Thing” (1982 and 2011). His other credits include “The River Wild” (1994), “The Mask of Zorro” (1998) and “Hart’s War” (2002).

His sons include veteran producer Gary Foster (“Sleepless in Seattle,” “Tin Cup”) and former Imax head Greg Foster. He is also survived by his wife, Jackie, a third son, Tim, and their families.

Reached by TheWrap, Gary and Greg Foster remembered their father as an “old school” producer who followed every detail on his projects, from script to final edit and release.

“He’s the last of a noble breed of producers who was there from the beginning to the end of every project and never missed a day,” Gary Foster said.

“As his son, I think that was his best contribution,” Greg Foster said. “His focus on detail helped me run Imax Entertainment, helped me be a good executive – that if you leave out one step in the process, you’re doomed.”

The Foster children recalled growing up on the sets of iconic movies. Said Greg: “He was an amazing father and a great mentor to both of us. It’s not a surprise that both Gary and I have had lasting careers in the industry. We had a great mentor to watch and follow and lead us down the path. I will always be grateful for his guidance and teachings.”

Foster was born in the Bronx, New York, the son of Polish Jewish immigrant parents who barely spoke English, according to the family. He moved to California at age 17 and fell in love with Hollywood and the movie business.

“As kids, he’d take us to see ‘The Maltese Falcon,’ he just loved movies. It was a life that defined him,” Greg Foster said.

Foster was particularly close with the iconic actor McQueen, first as his publicist and then as a lifelong friend. “Steve McQueen was a fixture in our lives growing up. It wasn’t a coincidence that this classic American hero was someone my Dad gravitated to,” Greg Foster added.

Foster continued producing into his 80s, his last movie being a remake of “The Fog” with director John Carpenter.

Foster died of natural causes, his family said.

Sharon Waxman contributed to this report. 

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