Martin Richards
Morton Richard Klein

(1932-03-11)March 11, 1932
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
DiedNovember 26, 2012(2012-11-26) (aged 80)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1971–2012
SpouseMary Lea Johnson Richards
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Picture
2003 Chicago

Martin Richards (born Morton Richard Klein; March 11, 1932 – November 26, 2012) was an American film producer.


Richards was born to Sidney "Sid" Klein, a stockbroker, and his wife, Shirley, and was raised just off the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. He had a younger brother named Bruce, and his parents also owned an arcade on the Keansburg Amusement Park in the 1940s. His friends and the friends of his brother always knew he was destined for a career linked to Broadway as he sang show tunes to them as kids.[1]


Richards won an Arthur Godfrey talent search, then appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and at the Copacabana. He later became a casting director, then a Broadway theatre and film producer.[2]

Richards won the Best Picture Academy Award for Chicago, having optioned film rights to Miramax in 1991.[3] As a Broadway producer, he won three Tony Awards for Best Musical and one Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, out of 10 nominations.

Personal life

Despite being gay, Richards became the third husband of Johnson & Johnson heiress and producer Mary Lea Johnson Richards; reportedly, the couple "adored each other". Despite the times being different back then, Richards' friends knew who he was and that he was different and they accepted it and loved him just the same. In his youth Richards and his parents spent their summers in Keansburg, New Jersey where his parents owned a summer business.[4]

Prior to their marriage, Johnson had been married to bisexual child psychiatrist Dr. Victor D'Arc, who she claimed in 1976 had conspired with his homosexual lover to hire a hitman and murder her;[5] a bodyguard was beaten almost to death during a break-in that almost killed Johnson and Richards.[4] Although the Bronx district attorney opened an investigation, no charges were ultimately brought, and the pair divorced in 1978.[6]

Johnson predeceased Richards in 1990, leaving him a $50 million fortune. Johnson's family waged a twelve-year court battle seeking to render Richards ineligible for a share of the Johnson & Johnson fortune. The court ruled in favor of Richards.[7] In memory of his late wife, Richards created the New York Center for Children to care for abused children and their families. Known to throw lavish parties, he was close to Chita Rivera,[2][4] who hosted a tribute to Richards on April 8, 2013, at the Edison Ballroom to benefit the center.[8]

He was also notable for physically assaulting "Stuttering" John Melendez at an event in 1996 while the latter was working for The Howard Stern Show.[9][10]


Richards died from liver cancer at his home in Manhattan on November 26, 2012, at age 80.[11][12] The marquees of Broadway theatres were dimmed in his memory the night of November 27, 2012 at 7 p.m.[13]


Broadway Awards

Year Title Category Result
1976 Chicago Best Musical Nominated
1978 On the Twentieth Century Best Musical Nominated
1979 Sweeney Todd Best Musical Won
1982 Crimes of the Heart Best Play Nominated
1984 La Cage aux Folles Best Musical Won
1990 Grand Hotel Best Musical Nominated
1991 The Will Rogers Follies Best Musical Won
1997 The Life Best Musical Nominated
2002 Sweet Smell of Success Best Musical Nominated
2005 La Cage aux Folles Best Revival of a Musical Won


  1. ^ Oscar and Tony-Winning Producer Martin Richards Dies at Age 80
  2. ^ a b KETCHAM, Diane (September 1, 1996). "When It Comes to Parties, See This Man". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  3. ^ "And The Oscar For Best Acceptance Goes To". The Free Lance–Star. March 27, 2003. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Gordon, Meryl (March 14, 2003). "Hey, Mr. Producer". New York Media LLC. New York Magazine. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  5. ^ Lovenheim, Barbara (June 21, 1987). "FAMILY FORTUNE: TANGLED TALE". New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  6. ^ Margolick, David (May 4, 1990). "Mary Lea Johnson Richards, 63, Founder of Production Company". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  7. ^ Horner, Shirley (February 15, 1987). "ABOUT BOOKS". The New York Times.
  8. ^ GIOIA, MICHAEL (April 8, 2013). "Chita Rivera Hosts April 8 Memorial Celebrating Late Producer Marty Richards With Performances and Tributes". Playbill. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  9. ^ "R.I.P. Marty Richards". November 27, 2012.
  10. ^ "Howard S TV Stuttering John Gets Slapped 96". YouTube.
  11. ^ "Marty Richards, Tony-Winning Broadway and Film Producer, Dies at 80". September 14, 2012. Archived from the original on November 30, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "BROADWAY AND FILM PRODUCER MARTIN RICHARDS DIES". AP. Retrieved November 27, 2012.