Monday, June 17, 2024

RIP: Producer-Actor George Englund Was Cloris Leachman’s Husband, Joan Collins’ Lover, Marlon Brando’s Best Friend


george englundI am sad to report that George Englund passed away about ten days ago, on September 14th. He was 91 and had fallen. There’s been no announcement, but there is a family obituary. George was quite a figure in Hollywood, at the center of everything in his heyday– actor, director, producer, he was married to Cloris Leachman (1953-79)and was the father of her five children. He had an infamous affair with Joan Collins during that marriage. He was also Marlon Brando’s best friend. When Brando died in 2004, it was George who helped me get the scoop and write the announcement. I will be forever in his debt.

George had another connection to Hollywood: his mother was the character actress Mabel Albertson (ubiquitous on TV in the 60s, she played Samantha’s mother-in-law on “Bewitched”). His uncle was Jack Albertson, also a great actor known from the TV series “Chico and the Man” with Freddie Prinze. That’s a pretty good lineage.

cloris and georgeEnglund produced and directed a number of films and TV shows but was best known for directing “The Ugly American” (1963) starring Brando, and producing “The Shoes of the Fisherman” starring Anthony Quinn. In 1992, he was a production executive on “The Golden Girls” and helped usher in its ill fated spin off, “The Golden Palace.” He also wrote a very good TV movie about the tragic Challenger space shuttle in 1990 starring Karen Allen and Barry Bostwick.

His family obit reads:

A man of eloquence and wit, George is known for his towering intellect and legendary sense of humor. He had a tremendous store of poetry and song in him, and he gave beautiful voice to both. His mind was curious, caring and massive. George was in the process of completing his Autobiography (to be published). A movie about his life and friendship with actor Marlon Brando is also in development.

George’s loving Family and friends surrounded him when he died at his home in Palm Springs, with the beautiful view of the mountains he cherished. George’s Sister, two ex-wives, five children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson survive him. Services are pending and a Memorial in George’s honor is being planned for November. In lieu of flowers, please donate to SMA.ORG in memory of Max Englund.





Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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