Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Remembering Jerry Harvey

Gerald Francis ‘Jerry’ Harvey was born on October 28, 1949 in Bakersfield, California. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Harvey first established himself within the film community by programming the director's cut of Sam Peckinpah's “The Wild Bunch” at the Beverly Canon Theater in 1974. Peckinpah himself was in attendance. The film played that day to a sellout crowd. He brought his relationships with the screen world to bear on his work at Z Channel, where he became director of programming in 1981. The films whose director's cuts Harvey championed, using Z's as a showcase, include: Michael Cimino's “Heaven's Gate”, “The Ruling Class” with Peter O'Toole, Sergio Leone's “Once Upon a Time in America”, Karel Reisz's “The Loves of Isadora”, John Ford's “Up the River”, Bernardo Bertolucci's “1900”, and Sam Peckinpah's “The Wild Bunch” and “Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid”.
The Z Channel was eventually sold to a company that tried to combine films with sports programming. This did not sit well with Harvey who protested against this change and struggled to find his path away from the Z Channel. As more and more pressure mounted on Harvey, he seemed unable to cope on April 9, 1988, he shot his wife Deri to death with a gun given to him by Peckinpah. He then used the gun to kill himself.
Jerry’s only foray into screenwriting was for the Euro-western “China 9, Liberty 37” (1978).
Today we remember Jerry Harvey on what would have been his 65th birthday.

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