Frank Moreno, a major force in the independent film world over several decades, has died at the age of 82, his family announced Thursday.
Moreno died Wednesday in Florida after a brief battle with cancer, his daughter Danni said.
Moreno probably was best known for screening films at Cannes for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures to purchase and distribute in the United States in the 1970s and ’80s.
Art films he “discovered” included Ingmar Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers,” Federico Fellini’s “Amarcord” — both were the biggest U.S. grossing pictures of their directors’ careers up to that point; Volker Scholondorff’s “The Tin Drum,” which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1980; Bruce Beresford’s “Breaker Morant”; “Fantastic Planet,” winner of numerous animated awards; and Bergman’s “The Magic Flute.”
Moreno also acquired and distributed many mainstream commercial pictures, including “The Private Eyes,” starring Tim Conway and Don Knotts; managed theater circuits, including one out of Florida; and was consultant to movie producers, including Andrew Vajna.
Moreno was the ultimate American success story, according to his family and friends, who said he grew up in a run-down flat in Spanish Harlem in New York. After serving in the U.S. Army, he married his wife Susie, who predeceased him, and raised two children.
He lived in Los Angeles for many years until retiring to Florida several years ago.