Menahem Golan Dead: Filmmaker Introduced America To Jean-Claude Van Damme

Veteran Israeli producer and director Menahem Golan has died at the age of 85, according to a report from The Associated Press, via New York Daily News.

Having produced more than 200 films in his lifetime, Golan made his name known to the world for bringing macho man action movies to the big screen in the 1980s. Some of Golan’s producing credits include Masters of the Universe, which was the first starring role for Dolph Lundgren; Revenge of the Ninja; the second through fifth entries in Charles Bronson’s Death Wish franchise; and Bloodsport, which introduced Americans to Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Menahem Golan’s directing credits included the Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin-starring The Delta Force and the Sylvester Stallone-starring Over the Top. Golan was a man known for bringing everyone schlock, which he called “entertainment for the masses.”

“It’s fantasy – storytelling without challenging the mind too much,” Golan added.

His IMDb page lists that Golan was in pre-production on another project called Allan Quatermain and the Jewel of the East. However, the last time the page was updated was in February of this year.

Menahem Golan started his career in the industry as a production assistant on Roger Corman’s The Young Racers, according to a report from Entertainment Weekly. In 1979, Golan and his cousin, Yoram Globus, joined forces and took over The Cannon Group – turning it into a production company that specialized in low budget action films that featured plenty of violence and the good guys always defeating the villain in the end.

Under the operations of Menahem Golan and his cousin, Cannon was releasing 30+ films a year. But the studio came under scrutiny after the critical and financial flop, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and it was hard for Golan and Globus to bring it back to its successful status.

Menahem Golan eventually resigned from Cannon in 1989, and the studio closed in 1993. American Cyborg: Steel Warrior was the final film to be released under the Cannon logo.

There was a time when Golan and Globus had the rights to make a Spider-Man film. But, according to Den of Geek, they didn’t think of the character as a superhero, rather “a giant eight-legged tarantula,” as Missing in Action director Joseph Zito put it.

Zito was originally attached to direct the Golan and Globus version of Spider-Man, and then it was reportedly going to be directed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s Tobe Hooper. However, Golan and Globus would later lose funding and the rights to the film.

Zito later explained that the two producers “didn’t really know who Spider-Man was.”

“They thought it was like The Wolf Man,” he added.

Talking to Israel’s Ynetnews, via New York Daily News, Chuck Norris mentioned that Menahem Golan is the reason why he became such a well known star.

“Menahem’s faith in me as an actor was the real reason for the breakthrough of my movie career,” he said.

In a related report from The Inquisitr, a new version of Masters of the Universe is on its way. The report states that it will be closer to the film produced by Golan and Globus.

[Image via Wikipedia]