Ronald Louis Schwary[1] (May 23, 1944 – July 2, 2020) was an Academy Award winning American producer and director. Films that he was either producer or executive producer include Ordinary People for which he won an Academy Award for Best Picture,[2] Havana, Scent of a Woman, Sabrina, Meet Joe Black and Random Hearts.

He also worked as a producer alongside Sidney Pollack in Absence of Malice and in Tootsie, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1983. He received another Academy Award for Best Picture nomination for A Soldier's Story in 1985 as well.[3]

Schwary did not receive a Best Picture nomination for Scent of a Woman in 1992, which was both nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes for best picture, since he was the executive producer and the academy only recognized those credited solely as producers.[4]

Schwary was also the producer of the Rolling Stones documentary Lets Spend the Night Together in 1982. Schwary served as an executive producer on the Barbra Streisand directed film The Mirror Has Two Faces. From 2005 to 2011 he produced the Medium TV series.[4]

Personal life

Schwary was in The Dalles, Oregon, the son of Mitchell Schwary (1903- 1986) who was a real estate broker and Lorraine Ablan.[5] Schwary was of Lebanese descent and both his paternal and maternal grandparents were born in Lebanon.[6] He attended the University of Oregon but transferred to the University of Southern California where he graduated in 1967. At USC, Schwary became friends with actor John Wayne who was a USC alumni who got him a job as a stand-in for Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. Schwary worked as an assistant director in the 1970s and later as a production manager.[4]

He was married to Emmy-nominated hairstylist Susan Carol Schwary from 1971 to 1994. Both of their sons, Brian and Neil Schwary, work in the film industry. Schwary was married to Karen Feldman from 2009 to 2014.[4]

Schwary died on July 2, 2020, from a rare neurological disease.[7]


He was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.


Year Film Credit Notes
1976 Shadow of the Hawk Associate producer
1978 California Suite Associate producer
1979 The Electric Horseman Associate producer
1980 Ordinary People
1981 Absence of Malice Executive producer
1982 Tootsie
1984 A Soldier's Story
1987 Batteries Not Included
1990 Havana Executive producer
1992 Scent of a Woman Executive producer
1994 Cops & Robbersons
1995 Sabrina Executive producer
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces Co-executive producer
1998 Meet Joe Black Executive producer
1999 Random Hearts Executive producer Final film as a producer
Second unit director or assistant director
Year Film Role
1973 Save the Tiger Second assistant director
1974 Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry Assistant director
1975 Breakout
Breakheart Pass First assistant director
1976 Shadow of the Hawk Assistant director
St. Ives
1978 Casey's Shadow
Production manager
Year Film Role Notes
1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind Unit production manager: Additional scenes - 1980 special version
1978 The Cheap Detective Unit production manager
California Suite Production manager
1979 The Electric Horseman
1980 Ordinary People Unit production manager
1981 Absence of Malice Production manager
1995 Sabrina
As an actor
Year Film Role Notes
1968 Planet of the Apes Frightened Human
1974 The Ultimate Thrill Danny
1978 Casey's Shadow Ticket Seller
The Cheap Detective Cab Driver
1982 Tootsie Phil Weintraub
1987 Batteries Not Included Louie
1994 Cops & Robbersons Producer
1995 Sabrina Sheik
Miscellaneous crew
Year Film Role Notes
1967 The Graduate Dustin Hoffman's stand-in


Year Title Credit Notes
1987−88 Tour of Duty
1991 The Brotherhood Executive producer Television film
1999−2000 Now and Again Executive producer
2001 Fling Executive producer
2002 Jo Executive producer Television film
2003 Partners and Crime Executive producer Television film
2008 The Meant to Be's Executive producer Television film
2005−11 Medium Executive producer
Second unit director or assistant director
Year Title Role Notes
1971 Hawaii Five-O Second assistant director
1973 Kung Fu Assistant director
The Blue Knight Television film
1974 The Stranger Who Looks Like Me
1975 Barnaby Jones
Movin' On
The Entertainer First assistant director Television film
1976 Spencer's Pilots Assistant director
1977 In the Glitter Palace Television film
1987−88 Tour of Duty Second unit director
As director
Year Title
1988 Tour of Duty
1996 Sisters
2000 Now and Again
2005−09 Medium
Production manager
Year Title Role Notes
1977 In the Glitter Palace Unit production manager Television film
1991 The Brotherhood Production manager Television film
Year Title Role Notes
2021 93rd Academy Awards In memoriam Television special


  1. ^ "Schwary, Ronald L. 1944- (Ron Schwary, Ronald Schwary) |".
  2. ^ "The 53rd Academy Awards (1981) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  3. ^ "Oscars Winners & Nominees 1985- Best Picture". Oscars.
  4. ^ a b c d "Oscar winner Ronald Schwary, 'Ordinary People' and 'Tootsie' producer, dies at 76". Los Angeles Times. 10 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Ronald Schwary". Encyclopedia.
  6. ^ Schwary's paternal grandmother Sophia Schwary Fliofel (1865-1955) was born in Zahle, Lebanon as can be seen in her death certificate in 1955 His paternal grandfather Louis M. Schwary was from Beirut, Lebanon and his uncle was born there as well. His maternal grandfather Abraham J Ablan was from Batroun, Lebanon and his maternal grandmother Nezzera Zlaket and granduncle Kalil Zlaket were from Zahle, Lebanon. Marriage certificate of Ronald Schwary's parents in 1940. Information from the National Archives, United States. Scans of official acts of Ronald L. Schwary paternal and maternal grandparents on
  7. ^ "Ronald Schwary, Oscar-Winning Producer of 'Ordinary People,' Dies at 76". Hollywood Reporter. 8 July 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.