The New York-based produce, Martin Bregman — who produced movies like Carlito’s Way, Serpico, Scarface, and Sea of Love — has said goodbye to the world on Saturday. Bregman dies at the age of 92. A local New York TV news station WNBC was the first to report his death news. His wife Cornelia told News 4’s Chuck Scarborough that Bregman has died due to cerebral haemorrhage.
Michael Bregman, who produced Carlito’s Way, The Bone Collector, and many other movies with his producer father, told Deadline that his star father died early Saturday morning after being rushed to Weill Cornell Presbyterian Hospital on East 68th Street.
“It was surprising and surreal; my sister reached me at 1 AM and said come quickly, there’s not much time,” Michael Bregman told the outlet. “We were by his side when he passed at 5:45 PM Saturday. You don’t expect it when it hits, but he had suffered a couple of strokes and hadn’t been doing great before this massive cerebral haemorrhage. It was quick and peaceful.”
The producer thrived at a time when the major way that movie productions endured union premiums to shoot in locations of New York came when Bregman held the clout to push for it and also impose their will. A Gotham-based filmmaker or producer was one of those people along Alan Pakula, Woody Allen, Sidney Lumet, and etc.
Bregman always walked with a cane, which led him to polio at the very young age of 4 that stopped him to use his one leg.
Despite his physical disability, Michael Bregman said his producer father wasn’t depended on anybody. He brought up in on Gun Hill Road in the Bronx — Bregman said, “the only Jew on an all-Italian block” — and discovered a unique way into the nightclub circuit which led him to start a career at an early age as a talent manager.
Michael Bregman told Deadline, “He grew up in the street and started by selling liquor by the gallon to nightclubs that was made by local guys.” He continued, “Back then, the club entertainment was singers, and he helped them get more money by playing over here, playing over there. He started signing them, not knowing what he was doing, but the singers were getting more money than they had before. That was his start.”
The management business of Bregman started to flourish and at the peak of his business, he repped clients such as stage actress Sandy Dennis, Barbra Streisand, and Liza Minnelli. Bregman focused on young talent later from which he was most impressed, which resulted in Bregman’s long association with actor and filmmaker, Al Pacino.
Bregman said, “Sandy brought him to an off off off Broadway play, I think it was The Indian Wants the Bronx, one of the early plays by Israel Horovitz in the late ’60s.” He continued, “It was Al, and my dad went backstage and signed him.”
Bregman and Pacino did several films together, including Carlito’s Way, Serpico, Sea of Love, and Scarface.
Michael Bregman learned the business working with his producer father. “The biggest was how to tell a story and tell it well,” he said of the lessons he learned from his father. “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage, and that’s Carlito’s Way. He was the real deal, just as friendly to Al Pacino as he was to the driver captain, and he could be just as unfriendly to a studio exec or a PA if it was warranted. He was not one to back down to anybody.”
When Michael Bregman heard about John Leguizamo as he was younger Bregman’s ex-girlfriend’s acting classmate, he went to see a small one-man show Leguizamo performed. In addition to the small one-man show, it was held the basement of the class on weekend. Michael Bregman said, I told my dad, who said, ‘sign him.’ I said I didn’t know what I was doing as a manager, and he said, ‘Nobody else does either.” Leguizamo played the villain role, Benny Blanco, in 1993’s Carlito’s Way.
Martin Bregman’s film wheelhouse was the quintessential mid-budget crime thriller of New York. The Seduction of Joe Tynan, Betsy’s Wedding, Sweet Liberty, Nothing To Lose, The Bone Collector, and One Tough Cop are included in his other credits.