Stanley O'Toole

Stanley O'Toole (1939–2004) was a British film producer.[1] His best known productions include: The Boys from Brazil, Enemy Mine, Quigley Down Under, and Outland. O'Toole has produced works for the top studios in the world including, Columbia, Paramount, Warner Bros., MGM, Universal, and 20th Century Fox.

Stanley O'Toole
Stanley O'Toole speaking at a Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow conference in 1990
Stanley O'Toole

(1939-01-16)16 January 1939
Died12 June 2004(2004-06-12) (aged 65)
OccupationFilm producer, studio executive
Years active1959–1992


Early yearsEdit

Stanley O'Toole entered the film industry, accidentally, in 1959, as a payroll clerk for the Rank Organisation. He had travelled to Pinewood Studios with a friend who was applying for a job[2] He climbed the studio wall and saw a job advertised in the Rank Payroll Department.

Stanley was installed as chief cost accountant for Paramount Pictures Europe division in 1966. In 1967, he was promoted to Head of Production for Paramount Pictures in Europe. He oversaw European production of various films including Downhill Racer and The Italian Job. During his tenure at Paramount, he reported to Charles Bludhorn, and worked closely with Robert Evans.[3]


In 1970, Stanley started a film production company with two friends – Gareth Wigan and David Hemmings. Based in London, it was called "Wigan Hemmings O'Toole". Films produced include Unman, Wittering and Zigo and Running Scared.[4]

The 1970s was Stanley's most prolific period of film making. 1973 saw the release of The Last of Sheila on which Stanley was executive producer for Warner Bros. It had an ensemble cast featuring James Coburn, Raquel Welch, Ian McShane and James Mason, among others. It was directed by Herbert Ross, who Stanley worked with on two other projects, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and Nijinsky.

In 1975, Stanley was associate producer on Operation Daybreak for Warner Bros. Directed by Lewis Gilbert, it was shot mostly on location in Prague[5] and was based on the true story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.

Stanley prepared a Warner Bros. project about the Entebbe Raid in Israel,[6] but the project ended up being shelved and was never made. Stanley was quoted as saying:

As filmmakers, we were committed to producing the most definitive version of the Entebbe raid, and Israel was committed to protecting state secrets. We couldn't go on.[7]

An Israeli government spokesperson said this was not the case, and that they helped as much as possible. It was on this project that Stanley first met Franklin J. Schaffner, whom he would go on to work with on three other films, including The Boys from Brazil and Sphinx.[8]

(from far left) Stanley O'Toole, Gregory Peck, Franklin J. Schaffner outside Franklin & Marshall College after accepting an honorary degree in 1977.

1976 saw the release of Academy Award-nominated The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, on which Stanley was associate producer. It was received well by critics, Variety said it was "an outstanding film"[9] and Rotten Tomatoes give it a 90% rating.[10]

Schaffner's The Boys from Brazil, released in 1978, based on Ira Levin's best-selling novel, starred Sir Laurence Olivier, Gregory Peck and James Mason. It was the story of Joseph Mengele's (played by Gregory Peck) attempt to resurrect Adolf Hitler through cloning, and attempts made by Nazi hunter Ezra Leiberman (played by Sir Laurence Olivier) to stop him. The film was shot in various locations including Vienna, Austria, Shepperton Studios, England, Portugal and the US.[11]

A close friend of Stanley's was Sir Laurence Olivier, who appeared in two of his films. On 5 December 1977, Franklin J. Schaffner, Sir Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck were each awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters from Franklin & Marshall College. Due to illness Sir Laurence was unable to accept his award, so, with permission of Queen Elizabeth II and the British Embassy, Stanley represented Sir Laurence in accepting his award.[12]

Remembering their partnership on The Boys from Brazil and the aborted Entebbe project, Franklin J. Schaffner and Stanley O'Toole bought the rights to Robin Cook's The Sphinx.[13] Being one of the first producers to see the benefits of shooting films in Eastern European countries, Stanley decided they would shoot most of the film in Budapest, Hungary. Having shot Nijinsky and numerous other films there, this was an area he knew well. There were also filming locations in Egypt.[14][15] Sphinx was not received well by critics, however, but made its budget back and was the number one film in Japan, the second largest market in the world at the time.[16]

(from left) Stanley O'Toole, Dennis Quaid, Wolfgang Petersen whilst filming Enemy Mine in 1984.


Stanley served as Executive Producer on Outland, released in 1981, starring Sean Connery. It was nominated for an Academy Award. The 1980s saw Stanley produce other big budget productions such as Enemy Mine, starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr., and Schaffner's Lionheart, starring Gabriel Byrne.

In 1981, Stanley worked with Barbra Streisand on Yentl, Streisand's directorial debut, though he has no producer credit on the film.[17]

In the late 1980s, Stanley was made managing director of Village Roadshow, based in Australia.[18] He took over from Dino De Laurentiis, who almost brought the studio to an early end.[19] During his time at Village Roadshow, Stanley oversaw the production of numerous films, including The Delinquents, Quigley Down Under, Hurricane Smith, Bloodmoon and Dead Sleep.


Warner Bros. installed Stanley as managing director of Warner Bros. and he oversaw the physical production of all projects outside North America. Films made during this time include The Secret Garden, Executive Decision and preparation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera.


Selected filmography from 1969 to 1992.

Year Title Director Starring
1969 The Italian Job Peter Collinson Michael Caine, Noël Coward
Downhill Racer Michael Ritchie Robert Redford, Gene Hackman
1971 Unman, Wittering and Zigo John Mackenzie David Hemmings,
1972 Running Scared David Hemmings Robert Powell, Gayle Hunnicutt
1973 The Last of Sheila Herbert Ross James Coburn, Raquel Welch, James Mason, Ian McShane, Dyan Cannon, Richard Benjamin, Joan Hackett,
1975 Operation Daybreak Lewis Gilbert Timothy Bottoms, Anthony Andrews, Martin Shaw
1976 The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Herbert Ross Sir Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Nicol Williamson, Joel Grey
1977 The Squeeze Michael Apted Stephen Boyd, Stacy Keach, David Hemmings
1978 The Boys from Brazil Franklin J. Schaffner Sir Laurence Olivier, Gregory Peck, James Mason, Steven Guttenberg
1980 Nijinsky Herbert Ross Alan Bates, Jeremy Irons
1981 Sphinx Franklin J. Schaffner Frank Langella, Lesley-Anne Down, John Gielgud,
Outland Peter Hyams Sean Connery, Peter Boyle
1982 The Island of Adventure Anthony Squire John Rhys-Davies
1983 On the Third Day Stanley O'Toole Richard Morant
1985 Enemy Mine Wolfgang Petersen Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett, Jr.
1987 Lionheart Franklin J. Schaffner Gabriel Byrne, Dexter Fletcher, Eric Stoltz
1990 Quigley Down Under Simon Wincer Tom Selleck, Alan Rickman, Laura San Giacomo
Bloodmoon Alec Mills Leon Lissek,
Dead Sleep Linda Blair, Tony Bonner
1992 Hurricane Smith Colin Budds Carl Weathers, Jürgen Prochnow, Tony Bonner


  1. ^ "Stanley O'Toole 1939 – 2004".
  2. ^ The Film Daily, Vol 131
  3. ^ International television almanac, 1985, Edition 30, page 202
  4. ^ "Blow Up and Other Exaggerations, David Hemmings, page 257
  5. ^ Film Locations of "Operation Daybreak"
  6. ^ Film Bulletin, Vol 45–46, page 197
  7. ^ The Palm Beach Post, "Entebbe Movie Project Cancelled", 22 October 1976, page 29
  8. ^ "Franklin J. Schaffner" by Erwin Kim, Pages 327, 335
  9. ^ Review of The Seven Percent Solution at
  10. ^ Review of The Seven Percent Solution at
  11. ^ The Boys from Brazil (1978) filming locations
  12. ^ "Gregory Peck: a Bio-bibliography" by Gerard Molyneaux, page 276
  13. ^ "Franklin J. Schaffner" by Erwin Kim, page 335, 367
  14. ^ "Sphinx" filming locations
  15. ^ "Anatomy of the Movies" by David Pirie, page 179
  16. ^ "Sphinx" review in Time Out
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Global Hollywood 2, Vol. 2" by Toby Miller, page 144
  19. ^ "Warner-Village-Roadshow" TV Documentary, 2mins18secs on YouTube

External linksEdit