Menahem Golan, the flamboyant Israeli film producer who died at age 85 on August 8 in Jaffa, had more than 200 films to his credit. Along with his cousin Yoram Globus, the Golan-Globus partnership out-Hollywooded Hollywood with such international blockbusters as “Death Wish II” and “Delta Force“ starring Chuck Norris, Lee Marvin, Lanie Kazan and Shelly Winters, with Golan as co-writer and director. When I met Golan at a November 19, 1986 private reception at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel following the kick-off gala dinner of the fourth annual Israel Film Festival, Golan-Globus owned 600 movie screens in Europe, including 40% of the market in Britain. Their next ambitious and expensive project at that time was the $24 million “Superman IV.”
Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Photo: Getty Images
After keeping the press waiting, the 6-foot-plus Golan breezed in with an entourage. The room was packed with Jewish and Israeli press and included Festival founder and producer Meir Fenigstein and Israel’s then consul general in New York, Moshe Yegar. Promised arrivals were Chuck Norris, Shelly Winters and Lou Gossett.
Reporters peppered Golan with questions about the still hot issue of the October 11-12 1986 Reykjavik Summit between Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Cornered in an upholstered chair and struggling to control his irritation, Golan diplomatically evaded the issue and instead homed in on his own arena. Yes, he said, Jerusalem is now the center for filmmaking in the Middle East. Yes, the films reflect the realistic and political system in Israel…. integration with Arabs and Arabs living with Jews. Yes, he felt his films were as good if not better than those produced in Hollywood.