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B-movie king Roger Corman and his sons settle long-running legal dispute

Roger Corman launches YouTube Channel, “Corman’s Drive-In”
The legendary maverick producer/director Roger Corman has reached a settlement with his sons after a longstanding lawsuit.
(Reed Saxon/AP)

B-movie king Roger Corman has reached a settlement with his two sons over claims that Corman and his wife Julie had mismanaged trusts set up to benefit their children.

The agreement appears to bring to an end a longstanding legal dispute between the Cormans.

The family has been battling over their trusts since 2009, when sons Roger and Brian (they also have two daughters) filed petitions in probate court to remove their parents as trustees. The trusts are valued between $120 million and $160 million, according to court filings.

Corman, 93, who won an honorary Oscar in 2009, is known for his oeuvre of low-budget cult classics such as “Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Wild Angels” and “The Fast and the Furious.” He has produced more than 350 films and directed 60 others, and is credited as having mentored Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron and Ron Howard, among others.

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“I actually don’t want to get into that. It’s settled and over,” Roger Corman said. “I like publicity but not this. From my standpoint I put it away and I’m never thinking about it again.”

The probate suit touched off years of legal wrangling and recriminations.

In April 2018, Corman’s sons filed another lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking to prevent the sale of his film library from New Horizons Pictures.

A month earlier, Shout! Factory and China-based Ace Films announced that they had acquired the 270-title library including such films as “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” “Eat My Dust!” and “Forbidden World” for an undisclosed price.

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The Corman sons claimed that the film library was part of the irrevocable Pacific Trust, set up by the elder Cormans in 1978; the sons are co-trustees and beneficiaries of the trust.

According to the complaint, Julie Corman disapproved when her husband wanted to transfer significant distributions from the trust to their children before his death. As a result, Julie, the court documents say, “became abusive toward her husband and other family members, and commenced to undermine the beneficial interests held by the children notwithstanding the irrevocability of the trusts.”

In December 2018, the Corman sons filed a petition to withdraw or dismiss the film library suit with prejudice.

A bench trial in the probate case in Superior Court began in February. The parties entered into two settlement agreements on Feb. 10, according to a court document filed last week.

It is unclear if all legal issues between the Corman family have concluded.

Blake Rummel, an attorney for sons Roger and Brian Corman, said “the matter was wrapped up” and that her clients declined to comment, adding, however, “I think it’s fair to say the parties are satisfied.”

Attorneys and a representative for Corman did not return requests for comment.


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