Peter S. Davis, popular cult producer Highlander franchise, died in his sleep on February 21 at his home in Calabasas, Calif., his son, Epic The magazine’s co-founder, Joshua Davis, told Deadline. He was 79 years old.
Davis began his career as a lawyer on Wall Street and started his own business in his twenties before moving to Hollywood in 1977. He produced more than 20 films during his career, including Brad’s first actor. Pitt. Cutting class (1988), by Joe Pesci Family executor a.k.a Collector of death (1976) and the last film by Sam Peckinpah The Osterman Weekend (1983). He worked with Bob Shaye and Bill Panzer to produce New Line Cinema’s first film, Waterfalls with Robert Forster.
Above all, Davis is known for Highlander (1986), which started out as a sloppy script written by UCLA undergraduate Gregory Widen. Davis convinced Fox and Thorn / EMI to support the film in the early 1980s and recruited Sean Connery for the role of Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez. Cristopher Lambert was scheduled to play the lead role before Davis found out that Lambert could not speak English fluently, which resulted in a thorough re-recording on the job. Nonetheless, Lambert turned Connor McLeod’s role into a cinematic icon. The film became a hit in Europe and then found a rabid fan base in the United States when it was released on VHS.
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Highlander eventually became a franchise that now includes four feature films, over 140 live TV episodes, an animated series, video games, and a sword business. Queen contributed several songs to the unreleased original Highlander soundtrack, some of which – including the single-title and “Princes of the Universe” – appeared on the band’s 1986 album Some kind of magic.
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Before his death, Davis had urged studio executives to advance a reboot of Chad Stahelski Highlander with Neal Moritiz at Lionsgate.
His son, Joshua, wrote that his father “was part of the independent film world, having lunch at the Dome or Ago with purple sunglasses and driving a red Maserati convertible around town. In May, he decamps for the bar of the Majestic in Cannes, often trying to increase sales abroad with posters of films that do not yet exist.
“For years he lived on La Costa beach in Malibu surrounded by dogs and fish ponds filled with moray eels and clownfish. He was a die-hard entrepreneur whose motivation led him to start businesses ranging from an exotic car dealership on the Sunset Strip to a home based pole dance supply store. He approached every effort with the same combination of intense focus, legal acumen, and unbuttoned paisley shirts.
With his son, Davis is survived by his wife Katia Davis; his sister, Vida Barron, his daughter Danielle Davis; and two grandchildren.