Batman producer Benjamin Melniker dies aged 104
Benjamin Melniker, the man who was fundamental in bringing 'Batman' to the big screen, has died at the age of 104.
The producer worked on every modern 'Batman' film including Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight' trilogy starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader, as well as Ben Affleck's portrayal of the iconic DC comic book character in last year's 'Justice League'.
The news was broken by producer Michael Uslan who wrote on Facebook: "It is with such sadness that I tell you of the passing of my 'Batman' partner, the legendary Benjamin Melniker (1913-2018).
"Legendary is the only word capable of describing the man who started work at MGM in late 1939 and came to be known as The MGM Lion for his forcefulness in negotiating the deals for the studio while building his reputation for integrity at the same time.
"It was Ben who taught me, 'The only thing you get to take with you when you die AND leave behind is your good name'. (sic)"
Melniker eventually became Chairman of the Film Selection Committee at MGM and helped secure deals for 'Ben-Hur', 'Dr. Zhivago' and '2001: A Space Odyssey'.
Uslan continued: "In 1979, Ben believed in me and in my outlandish idea to buy the rights to 'Batman' in order to show the world the 'TRUE' 'Batman' as created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, a creature of the night who stalks disturbed villains in the shadows, in a series of dark and serious movies.
"Ten long years later, thanks to the relentless efforts of Ben, we succeeded, changed the comic book industry, changed the movie industry, and changed history.
"Ben was a humble man, never wishing attention. He turned down endless requests to write his book or do interviews about The Golden Age of Hollywood, especially in his latter years as he became the last mogul standing from that era.
"He told me that he knew all the stories of what transpired behind the curtain at MGM in those decades, but would never reveal things that could negatively impact those people, their children or their grandchildren.
"He owns the Hollywood record books as far as I can tell. He actively worked in the industry over nine decades, and this year will still receive on-screen credit past his 105th birthday.
"Not only was he active in the industry for 79 years, he was sharp right up until the last day.
"He was my partner. He helped make my dreams come true.
"He was my second father. I always knew this day had to come, but after 105 years, I never thought it would. (sic)"