Marshall Flaum dies at 85; award-winning documentary maker

Marshall Flaum, an award-winning producer, director and writer who specialized in


, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in

Los Angeles

of complications after hip surgery, his family said. He was 85.

Flaum won five

Emmy Awards

, had several more nominations and was twice nominated for an Academy Award, for the documentaries


(1963) and "Let My People Go: the Story of Israel" (1965). Flaum wrote, directed and produced both documentaries.

"His flair for


and entertainment made those documentaries stand out," said his daughter, Erica, a film editor. "His view of history was very cultural and not very dry.... It was very important to him to have some kind of historical story. You always had the feeling of the times."

Marshall Allen

Flaum was born Sept. 13, 1925, in Brooklyn. After serving in the Army during

World War II

, he studied acting at the

University of Iowa

, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1948.

After graduating, he appeared on Broadway with

Basil Rathbone

in "Julius Caesar" and

Olivia de Havilland

in "Romeo and Juliet" while studying with famed acting teacher

Lee Strasberg


In 1957 Flaum joined


and worked as a writer, story editor and associate producer on

He twice won Emmys for writing segments of the program.

Flaum moved to


in 1962 to work for

where his other credits included "The Battle of Britain" and "Hollywood: The Selznick Years."

His work with

resulted in two Emmys as executive producer of "The Unsinkable Sea Otter" and "A Sound of Dolphins," episodes of

Flaum also won an Emmy as executive producer of "

Jane Goodall

and the World of Animal Behavior: The Wild Dogs of Africa."

In addition to his daughter, Flaum is survived by his wife of 62 years, Gita; son Seth, also a film editor; two grandchildren; and his sister June Flaum Singer. Services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at