Sidney Harmon, 80; Producer


Sidney Harmon, producer, screenwriter and in retirement a vital presence on the Palm Springs cultural scene, died in his Rancho Mirage home of the complications of Parkinson’s Disease last month, it was learned this week.

The producer of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Men in White,” which starred Elia Kazan, Clifford Odets and Luther Adler, was 80.

Director emeritus of the McCallum Theatre in Palm Springs, where a memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Harmon became one of the youngest producers in Broadway’s history when he staged “Precedent” in 1931.


Born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Harmon moved into radio from the stage, becoming a producer-director for CBS in 1939 and 1940. He directed a weekly series on Abraham Lincoln and produced the early “Life of Riley” shows.

During World War II he was head of the Motion Picture Division, Overseas Section, for the Office of War Information and after the war came to Hollywood

He was nominated for an Academy Award for his writing in “Talk of the Town,” a 1942 picture starring Jean Arthur, Cary Grant and Ronald Colman. The screenplay was based on Harmon’s own story.

His writing, producing and directing credits over the years ranged from “God’s Little Acre” in 1958 to “The Thin Red Line” in 1964. Other credits include “Battle of the Bulge,” “Men in War,” “Anna Lucasta” and “Mutiny.”

He retired after the 1960s and moved to the desert where he became an accomplished sculptor and organized a theater series.

Survivors include two sons, two daughters and four grandchildren.