Menahem Golan, iconic leader of Cannon Films and producer of '80s action hits, dies at 85

By Daniel S Levine,

Menahem Golan, the Israeli-born filmmaker and former leader of Cannon Films, has died. The producer and director, who oversaw hundreds of action films, was 85 years old.

Golan’s death was first reported by Haaretz. He died Friday in Israel.

He was known around Hollywood for his showy style and countless exploitation projects. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Golan and his cousin, Yoram Globus, came to power in Hollywood in 1979, when they took over Cannon Films for just $500,000. They found a way for B-movies to continue existing, thanks to the introduction of the VCR. The studio became so well known and successful that, at one point, it was close to becoming a “major” studio.

However, as Variety points out, his career as a filmmaker started back in Israel with 1963’s El Dorado. He produced the Oscar nominated Sallah Shabati in 1964 and continued directing and producing films there before arriving in Hollywood.

Golan has over 200 producing credits to his name, including Chuck Norris’ The Delta Force and Charles Bronson’s Death Wish films. The success of Death Wish II, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II and others helped Golan and Globus buy Cannon.

Cannon did produce some more artsy projects, including John Cassavetes’ Love Streams and Robert Altman’s Fool for Love.

But it will always be the action films fronted by Bronson, Norris and Sylvester Stallone that Golan will be remembered for.

He left Cannon in 1989 as the studio began struggling with expensive, foolhardy efforts that flopped. Still, he remained active in the business, producing films up through 2007. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Golan is the subject of the 2014 documentaries The Go-Go Boys and Electric Boogaloo.

image courtesy of INFphoto.com

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