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Producer, Filmmaker, and Winemaker Mark Tarlov Dies at 69


Mark Tarlov
Mark Tarlov

Mark Tarlov, the highly regarded producer of Copycat and Serial Mom passed away on July 31st, 2021 after a battle with cancer, it was announced by his family.  He was 69.

Having always been an avid fan of movies throughout his life, Tarlov scored his first entertainment job in Business Affairs at Warner Bros. in 1979. At the studio his interest in films grew and in 1983 produced his first feature, Christine, based on the Stephen King novel and directed by John Carpenter. Next, he produced Sidney Lumet’Power starring Richard Gere, Gene Hackman, and Julie Christie.

In the 1990s, he worked with the British novelist William Boyd to transform the Mario Vargas Llosa novel, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, into the offbeat film, Tune in Tomorrow, directed by Jon Amiel and starring Keanu Reeves, Peter Falk, Barbara Hershey, Patricia Clarkson, John LarroquetteTune in Tomorrow was the closing night selection at the Toronto International Film Festival and was the winner of both the audience and critics awards at the Deauville Film Festival. His collaboration with William Boyd grew into a lifelong friendship and yielded another film based on Boyd’s novel, A Good Man in Africa starring Colin Friels, Sean Connery, John Lithgow, Diana Rigg, and Louis Gossett, Jr.

William Boyd remembered Tarlov, “We worked on many film projects over the years, but it was our friendship that became the most abiding factor of our collaboration.  His many enthusiams were tackled with the same all-consuming verve as he approached whatever job he was doing at the time.  He was an intellectual – very clever and great, amusing, highly stimulating company – with a roving, deeply curious mind”

With his longtime producing partner, John Fiedler, Mark produced three John Waters’ movies: Cecil B. Demented, starring Melanie Griffith and Stephen Dorff; Serial Mom starring Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterston, and Pecker starring Christina Ricci. He worked again with Jon Amiel when he produced Copycat, starring Holly Hunter and Sigourney Weaver.

In addition to his producing work, Tarlov also directed two films. The romantic comedy Simply Irresistible, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Patricia Clarkson, was a collaboration with the screenwriter Judith Roberts to whom he was married and regularly worked with over the course of their almost 40-year relationship. The rock musical Temptation, starring Zoe Saldana and a cast of Broadway stars, including Michael Cerveris, Adam Pascal, Alice Ripley and Orfeh explored new ground, combining CGI animated backgrounds for live actors who performed on green screen.

In 2006, Tarlov embarked on a career in the wine industry and started Evening Land Vineyards making wines mainly in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  In 2012, he started Chapter 24 where he assembled an international team from Burgundy to Chile to create wines that have consistently received 90+ scores for wines tasted for Chapter 24 and its offspring Rose and Arrow.  Over the course of his career, Tarlov earned six 96 point ratings for his wines, more than any other producer in Oregon.

With storytelling and creativity at the heart of Tarlov’s life, he started his career as Chief Justice Warren Burger’s speechwriter while still in college before becoming a prosecutor in Washington, DC and then a lawyer at the US Department of Justice following his graduation from Columbia Law School.

Born in Norwalk, CT in 1952, Tarlov is survived by his wife, Judy (Judith), his daughters Jessica Tarlov who is a VP at Bustle Digital Group and liberal political contributor at Fox News and Molly Tarlov who is an actress, and grandson Harry.

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