WEST HOLLYWOOD—Oscar winner and Academy Award winning producer Ronald L. Schwary, 76, died on Thursday, July 2 in West Hollywood. There was no specific cause of death provided. Schwary was previously diagnosed with an uncommon neurological autonomic disorder, that led him to retire in 2015.
“Over the years, he fought hard to be the best version of himself that he could be, still constantly joking and laughing no matter how hard the day was. His zest for life still remained through the trials and tribulations of his disease,” stated his son Neil.
Schwary was born on May 23, 1944 in a small town outside of The Dalles, Oregon. He moved to the West Coast and attended the University of Southern California as a film major and graduated with a business degree in 1967. His career took off in 1976 when he was working as an associate producer on “Shadow of the Hawk.”
He is most known through his Oscar winning production of “Ordinary People” that came out in 1980, marking his first feature that he produced. The film gained six Academy Award nominations and received five Golden Globe Awards. He also produced six films directed by Sydney Pollack that included “The Electric Horseman,” “Havana,” “Absence of Malice,” “Tootsie,” “Sabrina” and “Random Hearts.”
He also worked on “Batteries Not Included” starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy and “Meet Joe Black” starring Brad Pitt. In addition, he was an assistant director on another Oscar winning films and tv series including “Save The Tiger,” “Kung Fu,” “Dirty Mary Crazy Larry” and William Holden movie “The Blue Knight.”
He won a Directors Guild of America (DGA) award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for the 1972 pilot episode of “M*A*S*H” with Gene Reynolds and Wesley J. McAfee. He worked with countless actors in producing various movies including Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford and Al Pacino. Aside from being behind the camera, Schwary was also featured in some roles, starring in “Sabrina,” “Cops & Robbersons,” “Tootsie,” and more.
He is survived by his two sons Neil and Brian, his brothers Michell Jr., Dennis and Gary, his sister Carol, and his grandson Mars. Memorial plans have yet to be announced.