Martin Richards Dead At 80, Leaves His Mark On Broadway And Hollywood

James Johnson

Martin Richards has passed away at the age of 80. The Broadway and Hollywood heavyweight showman was responsible for numerous award victories including 36 Tony Awards, an Academy Award, the Pulitzer Prize, seven Outer Critic Circle Awards, and two New York Drama Critics Awards.

Richards' career spanned the breadth of the entertainment field. In 2003, his film adaptation of Chicago earned the Best Picture Oscar. The original 1975 stage version of Chicago was also produced by Richards.

Other productions that were graced with Richards' special touch included Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd; Jerry Herman's La Cage aux Folles; Beth Henley's drama Crimes of the Heart; and the musicals Grand Hotel, The Will Rogers Follies, On the Twentieth Century, and The Life.

When straying away from his first love of the stage, Martin Richard produced such films as Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, The Boys from Brazil,Fort Apache, and the Paul Newman starring vehicle The Bronx.

Earlier this year, Richards celebrated his 80th birthday with such heavyweight friends as Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

When not producing Broadway plays and hit Hollywood movies, Martin worked with wife Mary Lea Johnson Richards to found Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Meals on Wheels. Mary Lea passed away in 1990 from liver cancer, and her husband would go on to establish a specialized liver and kidney transplant unit at the NYU Medical Center.

Continuing his philanthropy, Martin Richard went on to found the New York Center for Children, which aids abused children and their families during their time of need.