Frank Yablans
Yablans in 1972
Born(1935-08-27)August 27, 1935
DiedNovember 27, 2014(2014-11-27) (aged 79)
Occupation(s)Film producer
Studio head
Known forPresident of Paramount Pictures
Ruth Edelstein
(m. 1958; div. 1990)
PartnerNadia Pandolfo

Frank Yablans (August 27, 1935 – November 27, 2014) was an American studio executive, film producer, and screenwriter. Yablans served as an executive at Paramount Pictures, including President of the studio, in the 1960s and 1970s.

Early life

Frank Yablans was born in Brooklyn, New York to Annette and Morris Yablans. Yablans' father was a taxi driver. His older brother, Irwin Yablans, produced Halloween (1978).[1] Yablans was Jewish.[2][3][4][5]


Yablans entered the motion picture business in 1956, joining Warner Bros. sales.[6] In 1959, he joined Buena Vista as the Milwaukee sales manager where he stayed until 1966.[6] He joined Sigma III and later transitioned to Filmways after it acquired Sigma III.[6]

He became executive vice president of sales for Paramount Pictures in June 1969,[6] where his marketing of the film Love Story (1970), led to his appointment as Paramount Studios' president on May 10, 1971.[6]

As head of Paramount, he oversaw the release and marketing of The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Part II (1974), and Chinatown (1974).[7] He also personally supervised the 100th birthday celebrations of studio founder Adolph Zukor in January 1973. Following a reorganization at Paramount in which Charles Bluhdorn, the chairman and CEO of Gulf & Western Industries, was replaced by Barry Diller, Yablans announced his resignation as president on November 8, 1974.

After leaving Paramount he became an independent producer, working primarily through Paramount and 20th Century Fox. He was executive producer of Silver Streak (1976), The Other Side of Midnight (1977), Congo (1995), and the HBO series Rome. He also produced and adapted the screenplays for North Dallas Forty (1979) and Mommie Dearest (1981), both based on books. The latter won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay.

Yablans was recruited by Kirk Kerkorian to head his troubled and debt-laden film company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).[8] While Yablans' reorganization of MGM and United Artists (UA) into a single entity (as MGM/UA) served to reduce costs and overhead, the company continued to lose value, and in 1986 was purchased by Ted Turner Productions for a reported $1.25 billion.[9] He then formed Northstar Entertainment Corporation, with a partnership at Producers Sales Organization.[10] In 1986, he set up a two-year, seven-picture agreement with low-budget studio Empire International to produce feature films.[11] In 1987, director Arthur Seidelman partnered with Yablans to produce feature films.[12]

In 2000, Yablans and partners Cindy Bond, Charlie Stuart Gay and Ron Booth founded Promenade Pictures, a production and marketing company committed to "family-friendly" entertainment. Its most ambitious project was the "Epic Stories of the Bible" series of CGI-animated features, starting with The Ten Commandments (2007) and Noah's Ark: The New Beginning (2012).


Yablans died on Thanksgiving, November 27, 2014, from natural causes at the age of 79.[13][14] He had three children – Robert Yablans (deceased), Sharon Abrams, and Edward Yablans.[14]


  1. ^ "Show Business: The Promoter: Frank Yablans". Time. 18 March 1974. Archived from the original on December 22, 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  2. ^ Arnold, Gary (March 19, 1978). "Frank Yablans - 'Someone Has To Play the Heavy'". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ Erens, Patricia (August 22, 1988). The Jew in American Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 392. ISBN 9780253204936.
  4. ^ Cones, John (April 2015). Motion Picture Biographies: The Hollywood Spin on Historical Figures. Algora Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 9781628941166.
  5. ^ Biskind, Peter (April 4, 1999). Easy Riders Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock 'N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. Simon & Schuster. p. 145. ISBN 9780684857084.
  6. ^ a b c d e Murphy, A.D. (November 13, 1974). "Frank Yablans Resigns Par Presidency". Variety. p. 3.
  7. ^ Cieply, Michael (28 November 2014). "Frank Yablans, Paramount Executive in Fertile '70s, Dies at 79". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (20 June 1990). "Books of The Times; What Went Wrong at M-G-M, by a Participant - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  9. ^ Friendly, David T. (13 November 1986). "LEO ROARS HIS LAST AT THE OLD MGM STAND : Culver City Sound Stages Lose Some Old Trademarks and Take On a New Identity With New Owners ". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ "Frank Yablans Unveil Prod. Plans In PSO Coventure". Variety. 1985-05-15. p. 5.
  11. ^ Klein, Richard (1986-10-22). "Empire Has 40 To Lure Buyers". Variety. pp. 13, 312.
  12. ^ Silverman, Marie Saxon (1987-01-28). "Vet Director Arthur Seidelman Teams Up With Frank Yablans". Variety. p. 14.
  13. ^ Barnes, Mike. "Former Paramount President Frank Yablans Dies at 79". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  14. ^ a b Saperstein, Pat (27 November 2014). "Frank Yablans, Former Paramount President, Dies at 79". Variety. Retrieved 28 November 2014.