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Mark Damon
Damon in 2015
Alan Harris

(1933-04-22) April 22, 1933 (age 88)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
OccupationFilm actor, producer
Years active1956–present
(m. 1971; div. 1973)
(m. 1974)

Mark Damon (born April 22, 1933) is an American film actor and producer. He rose to fame through acting roles in films like Roger Corman's House of Usher, before moving to Italy and becoming a notable Western star and member of the 1960s Dolce Vita set of actors and actresses in Rome.[citation needed] After starring in over 50 films in the United States and Europe, he quit acting and reinvented himself as a film producer and pioneer of the foreign sales business in the 1970s, and became one of Hollywood's most prolific producers.

Early life

Mark Damon was born Alan Harris in Chicago, the son of a grocer. His family was Jewish, and their surname had originally been "Herscovitz".[1] Damon moved to Los Angeles at a young age where he attended Fairfax High School.[2]

As a senior in high school, he was scouted as an actor by Groucho Marx, but chose to attend dental school at UCLA. He soon switched to the Anderson School of Management, eventually graduating with an MBA and a BA in English. Damon also began taking theater classes, and decided that he wanted a career as an actor.[3]



In 1956, Damon started his career in Hollywood. He signed a contract with 20th Century Fox[4] and their Regal Pictures affiliate appearing in such films as Between Heaven and Hell (1956) and This Rebel Breed (1957).[5]

In 1960, Damon starred opposite Vincent Price in the first of Roger Corman's famous series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, House of Usher, written by Richard Matheson.[6] He won a Golden Globe Award as a "Star of Tomorrow" for his performance in the film.[5]

After an invitation from renowned director Luchino Visconti, he relocated to Rome, Italy, where he starred in over 40 films,[7] including many classic spaghetti westerns like Johnny Oro and Johnny Yuma (1966).[5] He was considered for the role of Django (1966)[8] and a role done by Tomas Milian in Boccaccio '70 (1962).[9]


Damon eventually gave up acting in the mid-1970s to become a film producer. He first entered the world of independent sales and production in the 1970s while living and working in Italy where he saw a huge market of independent international distributors eager for top American movies.[10]

When he returned to the U.S. in 1977 he founded Producers Sales Organization (PSO). His goal was to sell important American pictures to international distributors, the first such company to compete with the major studios.[11] Damon's subsequent success with PSO led to his reputation as the inventor of the foreign sales business and the brains behind independent film production.[12]

His early visionary contributions to the international distribution of independently produced films are widely recognized and he has developed a reputation in the entertainment industry as not only one of the leading producers and distributors of independent films,[13] but as the "legendary Mark Damon"[14] for his contribution to independent film finance structures by developing the industry-standard practice of pre-selling foreign rights and banking the distribution contracts.[10] After PSO shut down, he started Vision p.d.g. International, or Vision Productions, with Peter Guber and Jon Peters, founders of The Guber-Peters Company.[15] Vision International then formed a pact with Epic Productions, where they assumed international responsibilities for the studio.[16] In 1993, he started MDP Worldwide (aka Mark Damon Productions), for short, which in 1998, was sold to Behaviour Communications, a Canadian company, which renamed to Behaviour Worldwide, before selling it back in 2000, reverting to MDP Worldwide.[17] On June 23, 1999, Behaiviour announced that its Worldwide division will cut over 10 jobs.[18] In 2003, MDP Worldwide was then renamed to Media 8 Entertainment, in order to expand their own theatrical activity and their products, to change focus.[19] He then subsequently resigned on October 14, 2004.[20]

Over the past 25 years, Damon's productions have grossed over $2 billion in theatrical box office worldwide.[21] Damon has been directly involved in the international licensing of over 300 feature length pictures, including such noteworthy box-office titles as the James Bond film Never Say Never Again, directed by Irvin Kershner and starring Sean Connery, Prizzi's Honor, directed by John Huston and featuring Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston, Once Upon A Time In America, directed by Sergio Leone and featuring Robert De Niro and James Woods, The Cotton Club, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring Richard Gere and The Final Countdown, starring Kirk Douglas.[5]

Damon has produced or executive produced over 70 films, and his films have received 10 Oscar nominations including: the 2005 Academy Award winner Monster, starring Charlize Theron; the critically acclaimed, multi-Oscar nominated World War II drama Das Boot, directed by Wolfgang Petersen; and The NeverEnding Story, also directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Other acclaimed films include The Upside of Anger, starring Oscar nominee Joan Allen and Kevin Costner; 9½ Weeks, directed by Adrian Lyne; 8 Million Ways to Die, directed by Hal Ashby; Short Circuit, directed by John Badham; High Spirits directed by Neil Jordan; The Choirboys directed by Robert Aldrich; The Lost Boys, directed by Joel Schumacher; The Jungle Book, directed by Stephen Sommers; The Musketeer directed by Peter Hyams and Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, also directed by Peter Hyams, and starring Michael Douglas. Damon was a founding member of the American Film Marketing Association (now IFTA) and is a recurring board member of the IFTA.[21]

In 2005, Damon founded film production, financing, and sales company Foresight Unlimited. Foresight handled international sales for, co-financed, and produced the Rob Reiner comedy And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. The company served as executive producer on Universal Studios' 2 Guns, starring Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington, and Universal's Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg.[21] It was sold to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment in 2019.[22] On April 30, 2019, his company DCR Finance Group launched a $100 million film fund in order to invest money for their own film organization and served as managing partner for the company.[23]

Personal life

Damon lives with his wife Maggie (née Markov) in Beverly Hills, California. They have two children.


Year Title Role Notes
2019 The Last Full Measure Producer
2018 The Hurricane Heist Producer
2017 Blind Executive Producer Starring Alec Baldwin
2014 And So It Goes Producer Starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton
2013 Lone Survivor Executive Producer Starring Mark Wahlberg
2013 2 Guns Executive Producer Starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg
2012 Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Executive Producer Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren
2011 Flypaper Producer Starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd
2011 The Ledge Producer Starring Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, and Terrence Howard
2009 Universal Soldier: Regeneration Executive Producer Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren
2009 It's Alive Executive Producer
2009 Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Producer Starring Michael Douglas
2007 Captivity Producer
2006 O Jerusalem Producer
2005 The Upside of Anger Executive Producer Starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen
2004 Beyond The Sea Executive Producer Starring Kevin Spacey
2004 The I Inside Producer
2003 Monster Producer Starring Charlize Theron
Academy Award for Best Actress
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature
2003 11:14 Executive Producer
2003 The United States of Leland Executive Producer Starring Don Cheadle
2002 Extreme Ops Executive Producer
2002 FeardotCom Executive Producer
2001 The Musketeer Executive Producer
2001 The Body Executive Producer
2000 Love & Sex Executive Producer
1999 Eye of the Beholder Executive Producer Starring Ewan McGregor
1999 A Dog of Flanders Executive Producer
1997 Deceiver Wayland's Father
Executive Producer
1997 The Blackout Executive Producer
1996 The Winner Executive Producer
1994 The Jungle Book Executive Producer
1993 Stalingrad Executive Producer
1991 Diary of a Hitman Executive Producer
1990 Vietnam, Texas Executive Producer
1989 Wild Orchid Producer Starring Mickey Rourke
1988 High Spirits Executive Producer
1988 Bat*21 Co-Producer
1988 Mac and Me Executive Producer
1987 The Lost Boys Executive Producer
1986 Flight of the Navigator Executive Producer
1986 Short Circuit Executive Producer
1986 8 Million Ways to Die Executive Producer Starring Jeff Bridges
1986 9½ Weeks Producer Starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger
Directed by Adrian Lyne
1986 The Clan of the Cave Bear Executive Producer
1984 Metropolis Sales Agent
1984 The NeverEnding Story Executive Producer Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
1981 Das Boot Executive Producer Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Nominated for Six Academy Awards
1977 The Choirboys Executive Producer
1974 There Is No 13 George Thomas
1974 The Arena Producer Starred Damon's future wife Margaret Markov
1973 Crypt of the Living Dead Peter
1973 The Devil's Wedding Night Karl Schiller
1973 Little Mother Riano
1972 Byleth: The Demon of Incest Duke Lionello Shandwell [24]
1972 Great Treasure Hunt Kansas Lee
1972 I leoni di Pietroburgo Eldar
1972 Confessioni segrete di un convento di clausura Domenico
1972 They Call Him Veritas Veritas
1971 The Scalawag Bunch Allen
1971 Ivanhoe, the Norman Swordsman Ivanhoe
1971 Pistol Packin' Preacher Slim
1968 Dead Men Don't Count Johnny Dalton
1968 Anzio Wally Richardson Directed by Edward Dmytryk
1968 All Out Johnny
1968 The Young, the Evil and the Savage Richard Barrett
1968 Train for Durango Brown
1967 Golden Chameleon Vittorio
1967 No Killing Without Dollars Laurence
1967 Requiescant George Ferguson Also starring Pier Paolo Pasolini
1966 Johnny Yuma Johnny Yuma
1966 Johnny Oro Johnny Oro/Ringo Directed by Sergio Corbucci
1966 Dio, Come Ti Amo! Luis Also starring Gigliola Cinquetti, 2 times winner of the Festival of San Remo.
1965 Secret Agent 777 Dr. Bardin
1964 Son of Cleopatra El Kebir
1964 100 Horsemen Don Fernando Herrera y Menendez
1963 The Tyrant of Castile Peter I: King of Castile
1963 Black Sabbath Vladimire d'Urfe Also starring Boris Karloff
Directed by Mario Bava
1963 The Shortest Day Un ufficiale austriaco Directed by Sergio Corbucci
1963 The Young Racers Stephen Children Directed by Roger Corman
1962 The Reluctant Saint Aldo Directed by Edward Dmytryk
1962 The Longest Day Pvt. Harris Also starring Richard Burton and Sean Connery, Uncredited
1962 Beauty and the Beast Eduardo
1962 Peccati d'estate Dr. Gianni Orgei
1960 House of Usher Philip Winthrop Won Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Also starring Vincent Price
Directed by Roger Corman
Screenplay by Richard Matheson
1960 This Rebel Breed Frank Serano
1958 The Party Crashers Twig Webster
1958 Life Begins at 17 Russ Lippincott
1957 Young and Dangerous Tommy Price
1956 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Ray Clements Episode "Place Of Shadows"
1956 Between Heaven and Hell Pvt. Terry Co. G
1956 Screaming Eagles Pvt. Lambert
1956 Inside Detroit Gregg Linden


  1. ^ Moneywood : Hollywood in its last age of excess
  2. ^ Schreyer, Linda and Mark Damon (2008). From Cowboy To Mogul To Monster: The Neverending Story of Film Pioneer Mark Damon. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-4343-7736-4.
  3. ^ Schreyer and Damon, From Cowboy, 42-43.
  4. ^ Anderson, Susan Heller (May 25, 1980). "He Sells Hollywood to Europe". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c d "Mark Damon – IMDb".
  6. ^ Scott, John L. (July 31, 1960). "Damon Makes Late Escape From Teens: Damon 25, Finally Escapes From Teens". Los Angeles Times. p. F1.
  7. ^ Achiron, Marilyn (June 24, 1985). "Is There Life After Spaghetti?". Newsweek.
  8. ^ Hughes, Howard Once Upon A Time in the Italian West: The Filmgoers' Guide to Spaghetti Westerns I.B.Tauris, 31 Mar 2006
  9. ^ Damon, Mark & Schreyer, Linda From Cowboy to Mogul to Monster: The Neverending Story of Film Pioneer Mark Damon AuthorHouse, 8 May 2008
  10. ^ a b Natale, Richard (October 22, 1984). "It takes the right accent to sell U.S. films abroad". Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
  11. ^ Paris, Ellen (February 27, 1984). "Ronald Reagan is not the only actor who made good". Forbes.
  12. ^ Abrams, Rachel (May 20, 2013). "Foresight CEO Mark Damon Looks Back at Cannes". Variety.
  13. ^ Landro, Laura (April 16, 1985). "Overseas Distributor Takes On Big Studios By Doing Own Films". The Wall Street Journal.
  14. ^ "Quote From "Seduced and Abandoned"".
  15. ^ "Vision International". Variety. 1987.
  16. ^ "Epic Prods. Aligns With Vision For Global Film Distribution". Variety. May 6, 1991. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  17. ^ "Behaviour changes moniker to MDP". Variety. May 31, 2000. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  18. ^ Carver, Benedict (June 23, 1999). "Behaviour alters focus, cuts 10". Variety. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  19. ^ Dunkley, Cathy (October 10, 2003). "MDP changes name, focus". Variety. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  20. ^ Dunkley, Cathy; Harris, Dana (October 15, 2004). "Damon late of Media 8". Variety. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  21. ^ a b c "Mark Damon – CEO".
  22. ^ "Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Acquires Mark Damon's Foresight Unlimited | Hollywood Reporter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  23. ^ Hipes, Patrick (April 30, 2019). "DCR Finance Corp Launches $100M Film Fund, With 'The Last Full Measure' First On Its List". Deadline. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  24. ^ Curti, Roberto (2017). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1970–1979. McFarland. p. 60. ISBN 978-1476629605.