After an illustrious career in the Hollywood film industry and production sets spanning a little over four decades, producer Martha De Laurentiis passed away on Saturday, 4 December, 2021. She was only 67 years of age.
The cause of death was neither shocking not unexpected. De Laurentiis has been struggling with brain cancer for a long time. The news of her death was released into the public by her daughter Dina De Laurentiis, 31 years of age, on Sunday. Martha was quick to attain fame in the producer’s gild with her bold adaptations of the Hannibal series for NBC.
Born on July 10, 1984 as Martha Schumacher, she grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and attended the Ball State University from where she graduated before venturing into the film industry. She was crowned Ohio’s Junior Miss in 1972. She started her career as a model in New York but soon took a keen interest in production and set management. She joined the production team as an extra pair of hands of movies like Wolfen and The Warriors and later a few miniseries like The Dain Curse where she was mostly in accounts management team.
She met her partner Dino De Laurentiis while on the production sets of a Stephen King adaptation, Firestarter and the two were married till Dino passed away at 91 years. But before sparking off the romance with Dino, she had joined the Dino De Laurentiis Communications as an assistant production accountant for Ragtime directed by Milos Forman. After co-producing Firestarter, she got credited for the first time as an associate producer as Martha Schumacher.
The two lovebirds, Martha and Dino got married in in 1990 and lived in matrimony until his death in 2010 at age 91. It also kick-started their lifelong partnership in setting up their production, the De Laurentiis Co., which went on to produce intensely grossing and critically acclaimed movies over the years, from Breakdown, U-571 to the Hannibal series starring Anthony Hopkins Red Dragon and The Last Legion. They also co-founded the CLA Cinecitta Film Studios in Ourzazate, Morocco. Her other notable works include Silver Bullet, Raw Deal, King Kong Lives, Unforgettable and Virgin Territory.
After Dino De Laurentiis passed away in 2010, she continued as the chairman of the De Laurentiis Co. And even participated as a jury member in the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in 2015. Martha went on to produce the Hannibal series for NBC owing to their longstanding first-look deal with NBC-Universal Pictures and was supposed to be on the production team of the Firestarter reboot, dated 2022.
Dina in her mother’s death statement noted that she was a warm and loving person with intense creativity and eye for the unique. “My mother was both a warm, generous, optimistic soul — my father always referred to her as his ‘sunshine’ — and a fierce protector,” she noted.
“A treasured wife, mother and grandmother and a friend who touched so many, as well as a nurturer — and protector — of creative people on the movies and television she loved. She put family first but got up every morning passionate about building upon my father’s legacy and continuing to forge her own. Her kindness, intelligence and grace will continue to inspire us.”
The Pennsylvanian native is currently survived by her recent partner of 10 years, Dr Randy Sherman and her two daughters, Carolyna, 33, and Dina, 31.