Mark Shelmerdine Obituary – Death: British Producer Who Revived London Films And Played Huge Role In Development Of International TV Distribution Passed Away At 78, Cause Of Death
Mark Shelmerdine, the esteemed producer renowned for revitalizing London Films into an independent powerhouse and shaping the landscape of international TV distribution, passed away on October 26 in Santa Barbara at the age of 78, surrounded by his family.
Among his notable accomplishments, Shelmerdine was one of the first independent TV producers in the UK to retain rights to a broadcast production. He also played a pivotal role in establishing the Los Angeles branch of BAFTA.
Shelmerdine’s dear friend Brian Eastman confirmed his death to Deadline. Despite surviving a rare form of bile duct cancer through a life-saving liver transplant in 2018, he succumbed to undisclosed circumstances.
Born on March 27, 1945, Shelmerdine’s early career in the entertainment industry began with the Taylor Clark Group. He gained experience preparing box office reports and analyzing film popularity for cinema chains. His journey into the world of entertainment deepened when he became involved with London Films’ catalog, a company founded by Alexander Korda.
Recognizing the potential for remakes, Shelmerdine played a crucial role in adapting Winston Graham’s Poldark novels into a BBC series, retaining international broadcast sales rights. This model laid the foundation for London Films International. His innovative approach influenced countless British indie producers in subsequent decades.
Shelmerdine’s notable projects included the TV series I, Claudius, a remake of an unfinished 1937 Korda version, and successful remakes like The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Country Girls, and Kim. He also contributed to the development of Channel 4 in the UK and was a founding member of the Association of Independent Television Producers.
Moving to the U.S. in 1986, Shelmerdine continued to make significant contributions. He founded the LA branch of BAFTA, co-established SelecTV, and later founded Jeffers Press with his second wife, Susan Jeffers.
Survived by his third wife, Donna Luskin, Shelmerdine leaves a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry. His influence will be remembered by his children, Guy and Alice, and his five grandchildren.