Legendary ABC Entertainment President and Producer Martin Starger Dies at 92

Legendary ABC Entertainment President and Producer Martin Starger Dies at 92

Martin Starger, former president of ABC Entertainment and producer of films like “Sophie’s Choice” and “Nashville,” has died at 92. He was known for his influential career in television and film production.

Martin Starger Dies at 92

Martin Starger, the pioneering president of ABC Entertainment and producer of notable films such as “Sophie’s Choice” and Robert Altman’s “Nashville,” has passed away at the age of 92.

Starger died of natural causes on Saturday at his Los Angeles home, according to his niece, casting director Ilene Starger.

Life and Career of Martin Starger

Born on May 8, 1932, in the Bronx, N.Y., Starger attended the City College of New York, earning a degree in motion picture techniques. In 1953, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to the Signal Corps Motion Picture Location, where he served as a motion picture photographer at the Army’s film production studio. He was later stationed at U.S. Army Headquarters in Honolulu, Hawaii, contributing to all phases of motion picture production, including writing, directing, photographing, and editing documentary and feature films for television, the Department of Defense, and newsreels.

Following his military service, Starger joined the ABC television network, where he served as vice president of programs from 1969 to 1972. He then became the first president of ABC Entertainment, holding the position from 1972 to 1975. During his leadership, the network launched its “Movie of the Week” franchise, the miniseries “Roots” and “Rich Man, Poor Man,” and popular series such as “Happy Days” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Starger later ventured into film and theater production. While at ABC, he supported Altman’s 1975 film “Nashville,” serving as an executive producer alongside Jerry Weintraub. This endeavor marked the beginning of his producing career, leading him to establish his own production company, Marstar Productions. Starger produced or executive produced numerous TV movies, including “Friendly Fire,” “Escape From Sobibor,” “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and “The Elephant Man.”

His film credits, as producer or executive producer, include “Movie Movie,” “Mask,” “On Golden Pond,” “The Muppet Movie,” “The Great Muppet Caper,” “Autumn Sonata,” and “Sophie’s Choice.” On Broadway, his credits encompass “Sly Fox,” “Lend Me a Tenor,” “Starlight Express,” and the original production of “Merrily We Roll Along.”

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