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Joel Freeman

  • Birthplace: Irvington, New Jersey
  • Birthday: June 12
Date of passing: 
January 21, 2018

Obituary

Obituary: 

Joel Freeman was an American producer and director.

Freeman received an NAACP Image Award as Producer of the Year for his work on Shaft (1971), the MGM blaxploitation film that starred Richard Roundtree, was directed by Gordon Parks and featured a score by Oscar winner Isaac Hayes.

Earlier, Freeman had executive produced The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968), starring the Oscar-nominated Alan Arkin as the lonely John Singer, a man who cannot hear or speak, in Robert Ellis Miller's adaptation of the Carson McCullers novel.

Joel Freeman was an American producer and director.

Freeman received an NAACP Image Award as Producer of the Year for his work on Shaft (1971), the MGM blaxploitation film that starred Richard Roundtree, was directed by Gordon Parks and featured a score by Oscar winner Isaac Hayes.

Earlier, Freeman had executive produced The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968), starring the Oscar-nominated Alan Arkin as the lonely John Singer, a man who cannot hear or speak, in Robert Ellis Miller's adaptation of the Carson McCullers novel.

Freeman also produced the vampire spoof Love at First Bite (1979), starring George Hamilton.

Freeman began his career at MGM at 19 as a messenger but was promoted to the short subjects department six weeks later. After another stint in the production planning office, he was drafted and spent three years in the Air Force, two with the First Motion Picture Unit, where he served as a script supervisor and assistant director on some 30 training films.

Freeman worked as an assistant director at RKO and then at Selznick International Pictures, contributing to such features as The Farmer's Daughter (1947), The Paradine Case (1947), The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948).

Freeman's uncle, Dore Schary, then chief of production at MGM, brought his nephew on board, and Freeman worked on films including Madame Bovary (1949), Battleground (1949), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Blackboard Jungle (1955), Tea & Sympathy (1956) and Something of Value (1957), eventually rising to the rank of associate producer.

As an assistant director, Freeman worked on several TV series, including MGM Parade, Man with a Camera, The Californians, and Highway Patrol.

Freeman died January 21, 2018, in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 95.

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