Saul J. Turell, a writer and producer who won an Academy Award for his 1980 documentary tribute to Paul Robeson, died of cancer Thursday at a hospital in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 65 and lived in New Rochelle.
Most recently he had been president of Janus Films, a distributor of the works of such film creators as Orson Welles, Ingmar Bergman, Jean Renoir and Alfred Hitchcock. His first venture into films was in 1946, when he founded Sterling Films, a maker of educational films and distributor of television pictures.
Turell’s motion pictures included “The Great Chase,” “My Home Is Copacabana,” “The Art of Film Series” and “Robeson: A Film Tribute.”
His television credits included “Silents Please,” a 1960-61 ABC series that Ernie Kovacs hosted in which the films of Buster Keaton, Charles Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and many other stars of the silent screen were shown.
He also was co-producer, with David Wolper, of “Hollywood: The Golden Years,” with Gene Kelly as television host, and “The Legend of Valentino,” another TV feature.