Marvin Worth

Marvin Worth (June 6, 1925 – April 22, 1998) was an American film producer, screenwriter and actor perhaps best known for his efforts to bring the biography of Malcolm X to the big screen. His efforts spanned from 1967, when he purchased the rights to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, leading to the production of the 1972 documentary, for which he received an Oscar nomination. Later on, he would help produce Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee. He was nominated for an Oscar for producing Lenny (1974).

Marvin Worth
Born(1925-06-06)June 6, 1925
Brooklyn, New York
DiedApril 22, 1998(1998-04-22) (aged 72)
Los Angeles, California
Other namesFilm producer, screenwriter, actor
Spouse(s)Joan Worth (ca. 1954 – April 22, 1998)

Early life and careerEdit

Worth's career began at a very early age when he began promoting jazz concerts, which led to relationship with many artists. At one time, he managed the musical careers of Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday. Later, Worth's employment as an agent branched into comedy, and he took on contentious comedian Lenny Bruce. In the 1950s, he forged a partnership with Arne Sultan and began writing material for Bruce. The duo went on to pen the scripts for Three on a Couch and Boys' Night Out and the story for Promise Her Anything. In 1958, Worth won a Peabody Award for his writing on The Steve Allen Show.[1]

In 1971, Worth brought the story of Lenny Bruce to Broadway in the production Lenny, which won a Tony Award for its star, Cliff Gorman.(Internet Broadway Database) [1][2] In 1974 the movie version of Lenny directed by Bob Fosse was released and received multiple Academy Award nominations. For the remainder of his career, Worth continued to produce biopics including the 1978 film The Rose (loosely based on Janis Joplin), the 1996 television movie Norma Jean & Marilyn, the 1998 television movie Gia, and the 2001 television movie James Dean.

Personal life and deathEdit

Worth was married to his wife Joan, an artist, for 44 years. They had three children.[3] On April 22, 1998, Worth died of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, a form of lung cancer, in Los Angeles.[4]

Selected filmographyEdit




Award nominationsEdit

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1973 Academy Award Nominated Best Documentary, Features Malcolm X (Shared with Arnold Perl)
1975 Best Picture Lenny
1998 Emmy Award Outstanding Made for Television Movie Gia (Shared with James D. Brubaker, David R. Ginsburg, and Ilene Kahn)
1985 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Picture Rhinestone (Shared with Howard Smith)


  1. ^ a b Oliver, Myrna (April 24, 1998). "Marvin Worth; Producer of 'Lenny,' 'Malcolm X'". The L.A. Times. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  2. ^ "Cliff Gorman: Dynamic star of 'Lenny' and 'The Boys in the Band'". September 16, 2002. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  3. ^ McLellan, Dennis (December 31, 2006). "Joan Worth, 72; theatrical writer-producer". Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  4. ^ Galloway, Doug (April 1998). "Marvin Worth (Writer/producer, age 72)". Archived from the original on August 12, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2009.

External linksEdit