Mark Urman

Obituary of Mark Arnold Urman

Mark Urman was a man with a boundless passion for cinema.  In the course of his nearly fifty years in film, Mark felt blessed to work with some of the greatest luminaries in the business, from Joseph Losey, David Lean, and Bernardo Bertolucci to Roman Polanski, Sydney Lumet, and Julian Schnabel.  He also delighted in encouraging talents as they emerged.


Mark was born in the Bronx on November 24, 1952, the son of Holocaust survivors Felix Urman and Michele Golubczyck, and the younger brother of Dorothy Urman Denburg.  He grew up in Brooklyn, where he attended public school, including James Madison High School.


His film career began at Union College, where he met his wife, Deborah Davis. Subsequently, he

worked at Universal Pictures, United Artists, Triumph Films, Columbia Pictures, and Dennis Davidson Associates, before becoming the President of Film Distribution at Lionsgate. Notable films included “Gods and Monsters,” “Affliction,” “American Psycho,” “Dogma,” “The Red Violin,” and “Amores Perros," garnering nine Academy Award® nominations and three Oscars®. He also executive produced the Academy Award-winning film, “Monster’s Ball.”


THINKFilm, founded in 2001, was the setting for Mark’s next chapter in film distribution.  The company secured eight Academy Award® nominations in seven years, winning two. These acclaimed campaigns included the Oscar®-nominated documentaries “Spellbound,” “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” “Murderball,” “War/Dance,” and Academy Award® winners “Born into Brothels” and “Taxi to the Darkside.” Other notable titles released at THINK include “Half Nelson,” which generated a Best Actor Oscar® Nomination for its star Ryan Gosling and a Gotham Award for Best Feature Film and Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.”


In 2009, Mark opened Paladin, where he released  such films as “Disgrace,” starring John Malkovich, Tom Shadyac’s documentary “I Am,” Michel Gondry's “The We and The I,” the Deepa Mehta/Salman Rushdie collaboration of Rushdie’s celebrated novel, “Midnight’s Children,” Leslee Udwin’s Peabody Award winning documentary “India’s Daughter,” the highly acclaimed comedy “What We Do In The Shadows,” and most recently “Bel Canto” starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe and “Stella’s Last Weekend,” written and directed by Polly Draper and starring Draper and her sons Nat Wolff and Alex Wolff.


Mark was famous for his dedication to his family.  His wife, Deborah, is the author of ten books; his son, Oliver Davis-Urman, who is married to Jessica Cox, is a sales executive at We Work,;  his daughter, Cleo Davis-Urman, who is married to Richard Miller, is an experienced fashion executive who currently is the Director of Special Projects for Saks Fifth Avenue.  Mark lived with his wife, children, and mother-in-law, Jean Gatto, in Montclair, New Jersey for twenty-nine years.  He died of Respiratory Failure on January 12, 2019, after a brief battle against cancer. 


A Memorial Service will be held at a later date, for information please contact

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