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Martin Poll dies at 89; veteran producer best known for 'Lion in Winter'

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Martin Poll, 89, a veteran producer best known for "The Lion in Winter," the Oscar-winning 1968 film that starred Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole, died Saturday in New York. He had pneumonia and kidney failure, according to his son, Jon.

Hepburn won a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The film was also honored for best musical score and best adapted screenplay. Poll produced a remake for television in 2003 with Glenn Close in the Hepburn role.

During a five-decade career, Poll produced a dozen films with stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Woody Allen. His other feature films include "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing" (1973), "Night Watch" (1973), "Love and Death" (1975), "The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea" (1976) and "Nighthawks" (1981).

He also produced television projects such as "Diana: Her True Story," based on British journalist Andrew Morton's bestseller about Princess Diana.

Born in New York City on Nov. 24, 1922, Poll began his career in 1954 producing 39 half-hour episodes of "Flash Gordon" in Europe.

When he returned to New York two years later, he restored the old Biograph Studio and reopened it as Gold Medal Studios, considered the largest film production facility outside of Hollywood. Director Daniel Mann's "Butterfield 8" and Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd" were among the movies shot at the studio during the years Poll operated it.

He sold Gold Medal in the early 1960s and devoted himself to producing. He also served as New York's commissioner of motion picture arts.

-- Los Angeles Times staff reports

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