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Mark Damon, Veteran International Sales Executive and Actor, Dies at 91

Mark Damon, Veteran International Sales Executive and Actor, Dies at 91 Mark Damon, an actor-turned-independent sales executive who was a force in the foreign sales world and at film markets for many decades, died Sunday in Los Angeles, according to his wife. He was 91. Damon won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer for his starring role in 1960’s “House of Usher” for director Roger

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Mark Damon, an actor-turned-independent sales executive who was a force in the foreign sales world and at film markets for many decades, died Sunday in Los Angeles, according to his wife. He was 91.

Damon won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer for his starring role in 1960’s “House of Usher” for director Roger Corman, who died Thursday, then went on to appear in numerous Spaghetti Westerns and other B-movies shot in Europe, from “Johnny Yuma” to Mario Bava’s “Black Sabbath.”

Born Alan Harris in Chicago, Damon earned an MBA at UCLA, then moved to Rome where he established a busy acting career. When he returned to the U.S., he founded Producers Sales Organization to bring American independent films to international distributors, helping launch the American Film Market and Independent Film & Television Alliance.

He explained how his business started in a 2013 Variety profile: “Back in 1975, it was very tough. At that time, usually the producers found funding from private sources. They couldn’t use foreign contracts as collateral; that’s something our company kind of invented. (Producers Sales Organization sold “Never Say Never Again,” the only James Bond film ever licensed by an independent to independent international distributors.) They would try to get advances from domestic distributors, but the idea of using foreign contracts as collateral wasn’t in existence then. And most of the pictures came from major studios. At that time, the independents just did tiny little low-budget pictures. There were no big-budget pictures done by independents,” Damon said.

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Among the firms Damon led as an international sales agent were PSO, Vision International, MDP Worldwide and Foresight Unlimited.

He had production credits on more than 70 films, including executive producing “The Neverending Story,” “Das Boot,” “Short Circuit” “The Lost Boys,” “8 Million Ways to Die,” “9 1/2 Weeks,” “Wild Orchid,” “The Upside of Anger” and “Clan of the Cave Bear.”

He also produced Patty Jenkin’s 2003 biopic “Monster,” for which Charlize Theron won the lead actress Oscar.

More recently, Damon established Foresight Unlimited and served as executive producer on “2 Guns” with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

The 2008 book “From Cowboy to Mogul to Monster,” written by Linda Schreyer and Damon, told the story of his playboy years in Rome and years in the independent film business with “juicy behind-the-scenes anecdotes” of the making of many films, the synopsis reads.

In 2015, while in his eighties, he told Variety it was his 40th consecutive year in Cannes, “We have about 17 hours of work a day,” he said of his sales work at the festival. When asked if he goes to the festival and market parties, “I generally average one or two a night, for six nights,” Damon said.

He is survived by his wife, Maggie Markov Damon; son Jonathan; daughter Alexis Damon Ribaut and son-in-law Mathieu Ribaut.

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