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Pandro S. Berman

Pandro S. Berman
Born Pandro Samuel Berman
(1905-03-28)March 28, 1905
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died July 13, 1996(1996-07-13) (aged 91)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California
Years active 1923–1970
Spouse(s) Viola V. Newman (?–?)
Kathryn Hereford (1960–1993)

Pandro Samuel Berman (March 28, 1905 – July 13, 1996) also known as Pan Berman, was an American film producer.

Pandro Berman was born to a Jewish family in Pittsburgh in 1905. His father Henry Berman was general manager of Universal Pictures during Hollywood's formative years.

Pandro was an assistant director during the 1920s under Mal St. Clair and Ralph Ince. In 1930, Berman was hired as a film editor at RKO Radio Pictures, then became an assistant producer. When RKO supervising producer William LeBaron walked out during production of the ill-fated The Gay Diplomat (1931), Berman took over LeBaron's responsibilities, remaining in the post until 1939.

After David O. Selznick became chief of production at RKO in October 1931, Berman managed to survive Selznick's general firing of most of the staff. Selznick named Berman producer for the adaptation of Fannie Hurst's short story Night Bell, a tale of a Jewish doctor's rise out of the Lower East Side ghetto to the height of becoming a Park Avenue physician, which Selznick personally retitled Symphony of Six Million. He ordered Berman to have references to ethnic life in the Jewish ghetto restored. The movie was a box-office and critical success. Both Selznick and Berman were proud of the picture, with Berman later saying it was the "first good movie" he had produced.

The Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals were in production during the Berman regime, Katharine Hepburn rose to prominence, and such RKO classics as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Gunga Din (both 1939) were completed. Berman was willing to give creative people plenty of elbow room, but there were limits; having been coaxed by Hepburn and director George Cukor to push through production of the 1936 film Sylvia Scarlett, Berman reportedly reacted to the poor audience response to that film (the worst in RKO's history) by telling Hepburn and Cukor that he never wanted to see their faces again.


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