Ileen Maisel dead at 68: Hollywood movie producer of The Golden Compass has died

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Hollywood movie producer Ileen Maisel who was behind The Golden Compass, has passed away

Hollywood movie producer Ileen Maisel has died at 68. She was behind films such as The Golden Compass, Onegin and Ripley’s Game. Her sister and the Hollywood publicist Cheryl Maisel announced that she had passed away from cancer at her home in London on the 16 February 2024.

Ileen Maisel was born on the 6 April 1955 and began her career working for entertainment journalist Rona Barrett at the age of 15. In 1980, Ileen Maisel became head of development at Frank Yablan's independent production company, he was the former president of Paramount Pictures.

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When he became vice chairman and COO of MGM/United Artists only a few years later, Ileen Maisel joined him at the company. Ileen Maisel later became part of Lorimar and was involved in the movie Dangerous Liaisons, which won three Oscars. 

After working at Paramount and Fine Line, she became the senior vice president of European production and acquisitions at their sister company New Line. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Ileen Maisel then “partnered with documentary filmmaker Lawrence Elman to launch Amber Entertainment, the company behind the 2013 version of Romeo & Juliet that starred Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth and was adapted by Julian Fellowes.”

Lord Julian Fellowes is best known for being co-writing the historical drama series, Downton Abbey that is set to return after secret filming recently began on a new series. It was also reported recently that a third and final Downton Abbey movie is in the works. 

When Downton Abbey star Imelda Staunton was asked by Zoe Ball on her radio show if there was to be a movie, Imelda nodded and  Ball continued by asking: "Yes, what do you know? What can you say?" To which Staunton replied: "There will be the final film – there you go."

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Ball replied: "WOW, that’s pretty huge, I hope we haven’t got you in trouble." Staunton said: "I don’t care."

Lord Julian Fellowes who thanked Ileen Maisel when he won an Oscar for Gosford Park  shared a tribute to Ileen Maisel and said that  “Her role in the film’s creation was enhanced by Mary Selway, her long-term and much-loved partner, being appointed as casting director by Robert Altman — all of which gave Ileen a place in my story, which is why I thanked her from the Oscar stage in 2002. In the same year, she was producing Ripley’s Game with John Malkovich for New Line, one of her best films and perhaps the one she was most proud of in her career.”

Ileen Maisel’s partner Mary Selway, a British casting director, predeceased her of cancer in 2004.

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