Mark Seiler, Former President of RKO Pictures and Hemdale Films, Dies at 75

Mark Edwin Seiler, the former president of RKO Pictures and Hemdale Films and CEO of Capella Films, died on July 7 of Parkinson’s disease. He was 75.

While Seiler was at the helm of RKO, the company produced notable films including “Plenty” (1985) starring Meryl Streep, “Half Moon Street” (1986) with Sigourney Weaver and Michael Caine and “Campus Man” (1987), where he met his longtime fiancée Morgan Fairchild.

Another one of his proudest achievements was producing the war film “Hamburger Hill” (1987) alongside his partner Jerry Offsay. Together, Seiler and Offsay formed the cast of the film, giving Don Cheadle, Dylan McDermott, Courtney B. Vance and Steven Weber some of their first roles. Then, as CEO of Capella Films, Seiler helped to finance and produce “The Shadow” (1994) starring Alec Baldwin and “Nobody’s Fool” (1994), which earned Paul Newman a best actor Oscar nomination.

Born on May 2, 1948 in Glen Cove, N.Y., Seiler was raised in Long Island and graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Seiler prided himself on being a mentor in the industry, convincing his eventual partner Offsay to leave his law firm and join RKO. “He gave me that shot to go from law to creative on faith,” Offsay said in a statement. “I hope he always knew how grateful I was for changing my life.”

Seiler also mentored Marc Platt, who went on to produce “Wicked,” both on Broadway and the upcoming film adaptation; “Legally Blonde,” “La La Land” and more. “He was such an influence on me in my early days in Hollywood — he saw things in me that I’m not sure I saw in myself,” Platt said in a statement. “He guided me with his wisdom and instilled a confidence in me and a strong sense of self. I will forever be grateful to him for his mentorship and friendship during those early years.”

In the late ’90s, Seiler became an early embracer of the digital world by founding Geocodex, which helped to introduce anti-piracy technology and geo-encryption into the film business.

Seiler is survived by Fairchild, Carolyn Seiler Hehir and her husband Greg Hehir; and siblings Amy Seiler and Scott Seiler.

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