Laslo Benedek, 87; Screenwriter, Movie and Television Director

Laslo Benedek, a cameraman, screenwriter and director whose pictures ranged from the adaptation of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” to Marlon Brando’s portrayal of the brooding motorcyclist in “The Wild One” is dead.

A daughter, Melinda Benedek, said Thursday that her father died Wednesday in New York at age 87.

A native of Budapest, Hungary, Benedek turned to film after studying psychiatry at the University of Vienna. He began with a Berlin studio as a cameraman and then assistant to producer and fellow Hungarian Joe Pasternak. He was a film editor in France and screenwriter in Mexico before settling in the United States as an editor for Metro Goldwyn Mayer. He also worked as an associate producer of some of Pasternak’s well-known musical films.

His first directing credit was in 1948 for “The Kissing Bandit,” a Frank Sinatra musical. His other films included “Port of New York,” “Namu the Killer Whale,” “Daring Game” and “The Night Visitor.”


He also directed for television, including such pioneering series as “Four Star Playhouse,” “Du Pont Theatre,” “Perry Mason” and “Naked City.”

In the 1980s he taught at New York University, the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and other universities in the United States and Germany.

Besides Melinda, he is survived by another daughter, Barbara, and Danielle DeMers, a longtime companion.