Stanley O'Toole speaking at a Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow conference in 1990
16 January 1939
|Died||12 June 2004(aged 65)|
|Occupation||Film producer, studio executive|
Stanley O'Toole (1939–2004) was a British film producer. 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 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 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.
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.
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 and was based on the true story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.
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.
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.
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" and Rotten Tomatoes give it a 90% rating.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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 the late 1980s, Stanley was made managing director of Village Roadshow, based in Australia. He took over from Dino De Laurentiis, who almost brought the studio to an early end. 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.
- "Stanley O'Toole 1939 – 2004".
- The Film Daily, Vol 131
- International television almanac, 1985, Edition 30, page 202
- "Blow Up and Other Exaggerations, David Hemmings, page 257
- Film Locations of "Operation Daybreak"
- Film Bulletin, Vol 45–46, page 197
- The Palm Beach Post, "Entebbe Movie Project Cancelled", 22 October 1976, page 29
- "Franklin J. Schaffner" by Erwin Kim, Pages 327, 335
- Review of The Seven Percent Solution at Variety.com
- Review of The Seven Percent Solution at RottenTomatoes.com
- The Boys from Brazil (1978) filming locations
- "Gregory Peck: a Bio-bibliography" by Gerard Molyneaux, page 276
- "Franklin J. Schaffner" by Erwin Kim, page 335, 367
- "Sphinx" filming locations
- "Anatomy of the Movies" by David Pirie, page 179
- "Sphinx" review in Time Out
- "Global Hollywood 2, Vol. 2" by Toby Miller, page 144
- on YouTube