Donald C. Farber, the man who wrote the book on modern entertainment law—several books, actually, including the landmark Producing Theatre: A Comprehensive Legal and Business Guide—has died, according to close friends.
In a career that dates back to the 1950s, Farber became one of the foremost theatre, film and entertainment attorneys in New York. Among his clients were author Kurt Vonnegut and the original production of The Fantasticks, about which he co-wrote the 1990 book The Amazing Story of “The Fantasticks”.
He was born and raised in Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska, receiving his B.S. in Law in 1948 and Juris Doctor in 1950.
Farber’s other books include From Option to Opening: A Guide to Producing Plays Off-Broadway; Producing, Financing, and Distributing Film: A Comprehensive Legal and Business Guide and Common Sense Negotiations, a book designed to minimize acrimony and time-wasting grandstanding in contract negotiations.
He also wrote a memoir of the many celebrities he worked with, I Hated to Do It: Stories of a Life, which was published in 2014.
In addition to his practice and his books, Mr. Farber taught a course on producing theatre at the New School in New York City for more than 20 years.
He crossed over into management just once, serving as executive producer of the short-lived Broadway musical Metro in 1992.
His marriage to Ann Eis, a professor of math at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University who also worked as a writers’ agent, lasted 68 years until his death.
In June 2016 the round-faced, bowtied lawyer enjoyed a rare honor for a non-performer: he had his portrait added to the walls of Sardi’s theatrical restaurant in Times Square.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Patricia and Seth, two grandchildren, Justin and Miranda and Vega, a great-granddaughter.
A memorial service is planned for August 2.