Ira Barmak



Ira Barmak was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1936, the son of Russian immigrants Ilya and Ronia Barmak. He studied medicine at Cornell but upon completion of an MD realized he wanted to work in television, or, as he himself put it, he left the field of medicine “to get show business out of his system”. After several small parts as an actor – in the TV series Ben Casey (1965) and The Fugitive (1966), among others – Barmak turned his hand to writing, and had modest success with ‘Brenda Starr’ and ‘The Other Side of Victory,’ relocating to California in the 70s. He is best known as the producer of the 1984 slasher film ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night,’ which was famously ripped apart by Siskel and Ebert on their ‘At The Movies’ show. They ‘named and shamed’ the film company, the director and Ira Barmak, as the producer. Barmak went on Entertainment Tonight to rebut the critics’ denouncements and called them hypocrites: if they were really so offended by the movie, why draw so much attention to it and therefore guarantee it huge and free publicity it otherwise would never have had? Barmak ran three television corporate divisions (CBS Enterprises, Filmways, Bigstick/Colombia), wrote and/or produced four movies, three films for television, three pilots, three game shows, and three stage plays. He produced two television specials that garnered seven Emmy nominations and won him a 1975 Emmy as the Executive producer of Julie Kavner’s “The Girl Who Couldn’t Lose”. Ira Barmak also produced the documentary films ‘Bells from the Deep: Faith and Superstition in Russia,’ written and directed by Werner Herzog, and ‘Hollywood Uncensored,’ an examination of the history of decency standards for movies Ira Barmak passed away in 1993 in his home in Manhattan. His ashes are on Martha’s Vineyard