Lester Persky, a producer who got Tennesee Williams' Slapstick Tragedy on the Broadway stage in 1966 and later produced film versions of the stage hits Equus and Hair, died Dec. 16 of complications from heart surgery, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Mr. Persky was 76 and was raised and educated in New York City, earning a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College. He served as an ensign in the maritime service for two years followed by 10 years in television advertising, running his own agency. In his thirties, he became a producer. According to his 1966 Playbill bio for Slapstick Tragedy, Mr. Persky "resolved to become a theatrical and motion picture producer while still young enough to enjoy the occupation." He co produced the Williams play (actually, a double bill of one-acts) with Charles Bowden.
In 1973, with Richard S. Bright, Mr. Persky founded a film financing company, The Persky-Bright Organization, which made possible such films as "The Last Detail," "Shampoo," "Taxi Driver," "The Front" and more and in 1977 he founded Lester Persky Productions and produced films and TV movies and miniseries.
He produced "Equus," starring Richard Burton and "Hair," directed by Milos Forman. His TV credits included the miniseries "Poor Little Rich Girl," "A Woman Named Jackie" and "Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story."
A memorial service is being held 11:45 AM Dec. 20 at Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York City. Memorial donations may be made to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1399 S. Roxbury Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90035. — By Kenneth Jones