Sidney Luft (Michael Sidney Luft)

Sidney Luft

He was born Michael Sidney Luft in New York City, to Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany. His family moved to Westchester County, where he grew up. Luft was once an amateur boxer and bar-room brawler and had the nickname “One-Punch Luft.” He was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force and in the early 40s was a test pilot for Douglas. Luft’s first Hollywood assignment was as the secretary and manager of dancer Eleanor Powell. He is credited with keeping Judy Garland working and with setting up a deal with Warner Brothers to bankroll his wife’s comeback film, a 1954 musical remake of A Star Is Born plus future projects. Luft’s name is on the film’s credits as producer. A Star Is Born was a major critical success. During its first release, the picture proved to be very popular with audiences and grossed an enormous amount of money, but it failed to recoup its production costs. This was considered a major factor in Garland not winning the Academy Award that year for Best Actress. As a result, the studio canceled the Luft-Garland contract, which would have starred Judy in two additional Warner films, and given Luft a berth at Warner’s as a producer. Many, including Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli, attribute her greatest concerts and the film of A Star Is Born to Luft. Garland was most content while working. Sidney Luft died September 15, 2005 in Santa Monica, California, apparently of a heart attack, aged 89. Luft’s funeral service was held at the Riviera Country Club, one of his and Judy Garland’s favorite golf courses, and was attended by many notable people from the movie and television community. The club’s piano, played throughout the service, was the one on which the composer Harold Arlen had played the score of A Star is Born for Judy Garland after a golf game with Luft.

Born

  • November, 02, 1915
  • USA
  • New York, New York

Died

  • September, 15, 2005
  • USA
  • Santa Monica, California

Cause of Death

  • heart attack

Other

  • Cremated

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