John Beck; Film Producer Made ‘Harvey’ and ‘The Singing Nun’


John Beck, a motion picture producer perhaps best remembered for bringing “Harvey” to the screen starring James Stewart, has died. He was 83.

Beck, who had lived in Palm Springs for the past 21 years, died of cancer July 18 at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills.

A film executive for his entire career, Beck assisted Lew R. Wasserman in organizing the motion picture division of MCA and helped with the merger of International Pictures and Universal Pictures, forming Universal International Pictures.


He produced the perennially popular play, “Harvey,” in 1950 for his own independent film company.

Beck’s other major pictures include a remake of “Countess of Monte Cristo” starring Sonja Henie, “One Touch of Venus” with Ava Gardner and “Family Honeymoon” with Claudette Colbert, all in 1948. His other films included “Kill the Umpire” with William Bendix in 1950; “The Singing Nun” starring Debbie Reynolds in 1966 and “The Private Navy of Sgt. O’Farrell” starring Bob Hope in 1968.

A noted Hollywood fund-raiser, Beck garnered financial support for the building of the first maternity wing at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica and regularly solicited funds for the City of Hope. When his daughter attended Marymount School on Sunset Boulevard in Westwood, he arranged to have the school’s landmark statue of Christ erected.

Beck was active in the Film Producers Guild of America and was a past officer of the Friar’s Club in Beverly Hills.

He is survived by his daughter, Anne Marshall, a son, John, Jr., two grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.

The family has asked that any memorial contributions be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.