Funny Girl Producer Ray Stark Is Dead at 88

Obituaries   Funny Girl Producer Ray Stark Is Dead at 88
Ray Stark, the Tony Award-nominated producer who brought the musical, Funny Girl, to Broadway, and later to the movies, died Jan. 17 at his home in West Hollywood, according to newspaper reports.

Mr. Stark was 88 and had not been in good health. The cause of death was heart failure.

Funny Girl, the musical about comedienne Fanny Brice, was a stage and screen hit with Barbra Streisand (she won the Oscar for the job). It made sense that Mr. Stark would passionately shepherd the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill show: His mother-in-law was Fanny Brice. Mr. Stark's wife, Frances, Fanny's daughter, died in 1992.

Mr. Stark was Tony-nommed for Best Producer and Best Musical for Funny Girl. His career would also bring playwright Neil Simon to international exposure: Mr. Stark produced many screen versions of Simon plays ("The Sunshine Boys," for example) or original screenplays by the writer ("The Goodbye Girl," "Murder by Death," memorably).

As a Broadway producer, Mr. Stark produced or partnered to produce The Owl and the Pussycat, Any Wednesday, Everybody Loves Opal and The World of Suzie Wong. He was a partner in the stage producing venture known as Seven Arts Productions.

Among his more than 100 film productions were "The Way We Were," "California Suite," "The Cheap Detective" "The Electric Horseman," "Chapter Two," "Annie" and "Brighton Beach Memoirs." In 1980, he received Motion Picture Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Award for producing.

"Funny Girl" was the first film that his company, Rastar, produced.

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