November 2, 1951
June 5, 2010
Santa Monica, California, United States
Prolific Hollywood producer Steven Reuther had an impressive knack for finding mainstream commercial hits that also carried a modicum of critical respect, a balancing act that not many producers have been able to pull off. In a rare case of a Hollywood cliche turning out to be true in real life, Reuther got his start in the mailroom at the prestigious William Morris Agency in the 1970s before becoming a talent agent himself. Moving into production, Reuther landed at a small studio called Galactic Films, where he scored his first credit as an associate producer on the controversial erotic drama "9 1/2 Weeks." Reuther's next film, the early 1960s period piece "Dirty Dancing," was one of the biggest hits of 1987 and remains a Generation X cultural touchstone; his next major success, 1990's "Pretty Woman," launched Julia Roberts into superstardom. Later hits, many of which he produced in association with his business partner, Michael Douglas, included the John Woo action thriller "Face/Off," and a pair of successful adaptations of legal thrillers by author John Grisham, "The Client" and "The Rainmaker." Reuther died of cancer in 2010; his last credit was as producer of the Katherine Heigl romantic comedy "The Ugly Truth."