Michael White (producer)

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Michael White
Born Michael Simon White
(1936-01-16)16 January 1936
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 7 March 2016(2016-03-07) (aged 80)
Ojai, California, United States
Cause of death Heart failure
Nationality Scottish
Education Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, Switzerland
Alma mater University of Paris
Occupation Theatre producer, film producer
Years active 1961–2013
Notable work Oh! Calcutta!, 1970 West End
Sleuth, 1971 Broadway
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 1973 West End
The Rocky Horror Show, 1973 West End
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1974 (film)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975 (film)
A Chorus Line, 1976 West End
Jabberwocky, 1977 (film)
Annie, 1978 West End
My Dinner With Andre, 1981 (film)
The Comic Strip Presents..., 1982 (TV)
She Loves Me, 1994 West End revival
Awards Tony Award for Best Play
1971: Sleuth
Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival
1994: She Loves Me
Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical
1994: She Loves Me
Evening Standard Award for Best Musical
1973: The Rocky Horror Show
1976: A Chorus Line
1978: Annie
Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Film
1982: Moonlighting
1983: The Ploughman's Lunch
Boston Society of Film Critics Best American Film
1982: My Dinner With Andre

Michael White (16 January 1936 – 7 March 2016) was a British theatrical impresario and film producer. White produced 101 stage productions and 27 films over 50 years.

Early life

Michael White was born to Eastern European Jewish-immigrant parents in Glasgow, Scotland. His father ran a glove making business, whilst his mother became successful in property development and management.[1] As White suffered from asthma as a boy, his parents decided he would be educated as a boarder at the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz in Switzerland from age 7, where he was the only boy who did not speak the French language. He then graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris.[2]


After working as a Wall Street runner in New York City in the 1950s, White took an interest in theatre, spending five years as assistant to Sir Peter Daubeny for his World Theatre seasons in London.

White produced his first West End play, the London premiere of Jack Gelber's The Connection in 1961.[1][3] Known for bringing the risqué to the stage his productions included Sleuth,[4] Oh! Calcutta!,[5] Two Gentlemen of Verona and the original Theatre Upstairs production of The Rocky Horror Show.

Concurrently, White produced films, including the film version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (both 1975). Later, he was responsible for The Comic Strip Presents... with Peter Richardson, which began on the opening night of Channel 4 in 1982.[1]

However, losses on films mounted, and after being conned out of hundreds of thousands of pounds in the early 2000s, he was declared bankrupt in 2005 after suffering a heart attack at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles.[2]


White's autobiography, Empty Seats, was published in 1985.[6]

White's life story was the subject of the 2013 documentary film The Last Impresario, directed by Gracie Otto. The film made its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013,[7][8] where it was positively received by critics.[9][10][11]

Personal life

White was married twice. With his first wife, the 1960s model and designer Sarah Hillsdon (1965-1972), he had three children. With his second wife, Louise, an heiress 26 years his junior, he had a son. His ex-girlfriends included film director Lyndall Hobbs.[2]

White died on 7 March 2016 of heart failure, aged 80.[12]

Selected theatrical productions

This list is incomplete, currently listing only White's most notable theatre works:


As producer:


As producer:


As producer or executive producer:

Appearing as himself:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Coveney, Michael (9 March 2016). "Michael White obituary". The Guardioan. Retrieved 9 March 20126. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kennaway, Guy (5 October 2008). "Michael White's celebrity photo album". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Bygrave, Mike; Joan Goodman; John Fordham (1973). The Other Careers: earning a living in the arts and media. Wildwood House. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7045-0052-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Morley, Sheridan (1974). Theatre. Hutchinson. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-09-122290-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Alan Travis (23 December 2000). "How two dames saved Oh! Calcutta!". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. White, Michael (1984). Empty Seats (1st ed.). H.Hamilton. ISBN 978-0-241-11348-6. ISBN 0-241-11348-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Oliver Pfeiffer, "Gracie Otto's The Last Impresario to premiere at London Film Festival", SBS.com.au, 10 September 2013.
  8. Cara Nash, "'The Last Impresario' to premiere at BFI London Film Festival", FilmInk.com.au, 5 September 2013.
  9. Charles Gant, "London Film Review: 'The Last Impresario'", Variety Magazine, 29 October 2013.
  10. Stephen Dalton, "The Last Impresario: London Review", The Hollywood Reporter, 13 October 2013.
  11. "Review: The Last Impresario", WizardRadio.co.uk, 14 October 2013.
  12. "Veteran British producer Michael White dies age 80". Reuters.com. Retrieved March 8, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links