George Justin - Writer

Producer and Production Executive. Nationality: American. Born: New York, New York, 7 July 1916. Education: City College of New York, B.S.S. Family: Married Valerie Sharaf, 1955; one daughter: Andrea Boggs (nee Justin). Military Service: U.S. Army Signal Corps, 1942–1946; cameraman on training films, including films on prisoners of war, glider planes, and pontoon bridges. Career: Test director for director George Cukor on casting for Gone with the Wind , 1937; cameraman and/or director on documentary and industrial films shot in the U.S. and abroad for Church World Service, International Film Foundation, and Southern Film Service, 1946–1953; instructor, New Institute for Film, Brooklyn, New York, 1951–1955; production manager, production supervisor, associate producer, and producer on television series and films/film pilots for television, including The Doctors, Ella Raines, Registered Nurse, You Are There, The Defenders , and Espionage , 1953–1962; New York–based production manager, production supervisor, associate producer, and producer on feature length motion pictures, 1954–1972; director, television series, Top Secret , 1955; co-producer (with Leo Kerz and Harry Belafonte), Moonbirds , a play by Marcel Ayme, on Broadway, 1959; Vice President, Production Management, Paramount Pictures, 1972–1975; associate producer, production supervisor, and trouble shooter on motion picture features, 1976–1978; executive production manager, Orion Pictures, supervising all film production world wide, 1979–1981; vice president, MGM, then senior vice president, production management, MGM/UA, 1981–1983; production manager, feature and television motion pictures, 1983–1989. Address: 85 Suffolk St., Sag Harbor, New York 1193–3434, U.S.A.

Films as Producer or Production Executive:


On the Waterfront (Kazan) (pr manager)


A Face in the Crowd (Kazan) (pr manager); 12 Angry Men (Lumet) (assoc pr)


Wind Across the Everglades (Ray) (pr manager); The Goddess (Cromwell) (pr supervisor)


The Fugitive Kind (Lumet) (assoc pr); Happy Anniversary (Miller) ( assoc pr); Middle of the Night (Mann) (pr); The Defenders (Powell—for TV) (pr)


The Young Doctors (Karlson) (pr manager); Something Wild (Garfein) (pr)


Long Day's Journey Into Night (Lumet) (pr manager)


Espionage (Powell—13 films for TV) (pr)


Inside Daisy Clover (Mulligan) (pr manager)


Up the Down Staircase (Mulligan) (pr manager); The Graduate (Nichols) (pr supervisor); The Tiger Makes Out (Hiller) (pr)


The Night They Raided Minsky's ( The Night They Invented Striptease ) (Friedkin) (pr manager)


The Owl and the Pussycat (Ross) (pr supervisor + assoc pr); The Possession of Joel Delaney (Hussein) (pr supervisor)


The Anderson Tapes (Lumet) (assoc pr + ro as waiter/double agent)


Marathon Man (Schlesinger) (pr manager + assoc pr)


The Deep (Yates) (pr manager + assoc pr)


The Eyes of Laura Mars (Kershner) (pr exec)


Rollover (Pakula) (pr exec); Wolfen (Wadleigh) (pr exec)


No Small Affair (Schatzberg) (exec pr)


Murphy's Romance (Ritt—for TV) (assoc pr)


Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story (Goldstone—for TV) (pr manager)


Deadly Illusion ( Love You to Death ) (Cohen & Tannen) (pr manager)


Incident at Lincoln Bluff ( The Incident ) (Sargent) (pr exec)


Star Struck (Drake—for TV) (unit pr manager)

Other Films:


Chinatown (ro as barber)


Shampoo (ro as producer)


On JUSTIN: articles—

Zunser, Jesse, "Hollywood-On-Hudson," in Cue , 29 August 1959.

Pitman, Jack, "NY Production Helping & Hurting," in Variety , 1 November 1961.

Thompson, Howard, "George Justin: Local Movie Man On Our Town," in New York Times , 26 November 1961.

"George Justin Gets PAR Veepee Stripes," in Variety , 28 March 1973.

"Orion Gives Justin His Veepee Stripes," in Variety , 31 March 1980.

"Justin VP Production Management at MGM," in The Hollywood Reporter , 11 August 1981.

* * *

George Justin played a key role in the ferment that was New York based filmmaking in the 1950s and 1960s. Justin was one of a number of figures who emerged out of the industrial and documentary film background that WWII had fostered and into an era of new possibilities in the New York of the early 1950s, which could be defined by its differences from the industrial conditions of the Hollywood studios, whose empires were declining. When directors like Elia Kazan, at the peak of his prestige but estranged from Hollywood, and up-andcoming Sidney Lumet turned to New York City as a possible production base, they found an array of talent and enthusiasm among individuals who had learned their crafts abroad (cinematographers Boris Kaufman and Eugen Schüfftan, for example), in the field of documentary and news, in radio and theater, and in the open, inventive atmosphere of the new medium of television production.

As production manager, supervisor, associate producer, and producer, Justin corralled much of this talent into a so-called "first team"—crews that lent a spirit of independence, energy, and innovation to watershed films like On the Waterfront , 12 Angry Men , and The Goddess. Justin developed a reputation for assembling crews of consummate professionals and keeping films on schedule and budget with good-spirited control. The soundstages on which productions he supervised were shot were hung with his banner, "Keep 'em in the East," rallying for the New York cause. His daily call sheets, "Letters to the Troops," reflected his gift for management through a refined combination of discipline, organization, and humor. Many films for television were made in the same crucible as features during the "golden age of television." Justin worked on a number of those productions, too, in New York (e.g. The Doctors, You Are There, The Defenders ) and in Europe ( Espionage ), with prominent directors including Lumet and Michael Powell.

Justin's reputation garnered him offers from Los Angeles and he became part of the so-called Hollywood Renaissance as Vice President for Production Management at Paramount. During Justin's Justin's tenure there (1972–1975), Paramount released, among many other films, Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation and The Godfather , Robert Altman's Nashville , Peter Bogdonavich's Paper Moon , Woody Allen's Play it Again, Sam , and Roman Polanski's Chinatown , in the last of which Justin appeared as the gravelly voiced barber who tells an off-color joke to Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson). One of Justin's other notable appearances as an actor was rather a bit of type-casting: he played a producer in Shampoo (1975). From 1976 to 1978 Justin worked as associate producer on films in production and development at Columbia Pictures, then worked as Executive Production Manager at Orion Pictures, supervising worldwide productions. Justin's last studio affiliation was with MGM, for which he served as Vice President, then was promoted to Senior Vice President, Production Management for worldwide production for MGM/UA. Justin, who loved working on location and never tired of the creative energy of the movie set, left the desks of executive office buildings to resume, in 1983, freelance work in production management. Though not a household name, his will remain indelibly attached to the slew of powerful New York films that he "enabled" in the first two decades of his career.

—Susan Felleman

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