Michael White (producer)

Michael Simon White (16 January 1936 – 7 March 2016) was a British theatrical impresario and film producer. White produced 101 stage productions and 27 films over 50 years.

Michael White
Michael Simon White

(1936-01-16)16 January 1936
Glasgow, Scotland
Died7 March 2016(2016-03-07) (aged 80)
EducationLyceum Alpinum Zuoz, Switzerland
Alma materUniversity of Paris
OccupationTheatre producer, film producer
Years active1961–2013
Notable work

Early life

Michael White was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of Doris (Cohen), who became successful in property development and management, and Victor White, who ran a glove making business.[1] His mother was Eastern European Jewish and his father was born in Dublin, Ireland.[2] As White suffered from asthma as a boy, his parents decided he would be educated as a boarder at the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz in Switzerland from age 7, where he was the only boy who did not speak the French language. He then graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris.[3]


After working as a Wall Street runner in New York City in the 1950s, White took an interest in theatre, spending five years as assistant to Sir Peter Daubeny for his World Theatre seasons in London.

White produced his first West End play, the London premiere of Jack Gelber's The Connection in 1961.[2][4] Known for bringing the risqué to the stage his productions included Sleuth,[5] Oh! Calcutta!,[6] Two Gentlemen of Verona and the original Theatre Upstairs production of The Rocky Horror Show.

Concurrently, White produced films, including the film version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (both 1975). Later, he was responsible for The Comic Strip Presents... with Peter Richardson, which began on the opening night of Channel 4 in 1982.[2]

However, losses on films mounted, and he was declared bankrupt in 2005 after suffering a heart attack at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles.[3]


White's autobiography, Empty Seats, was published in 1985.[7]

White's life story was the subject of the 2013 documentary film The Last Impresario, directed by Gracie Otto. The film made its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013,[8][9] where it was positively received by critics.[10][11][12]

Personal life

White was married twice. With his first wife, the 1960s model and designer Sarah Hillsdon (1965-1972), he had three children. With his second wife, Louise, an heiress 26 years his junior, he had a son.[3]

White died on 7 March 2016 of heart failure, aged 80.[13]

Selected theatrical productions

This list is incomplete, currently listing only White's most notable theatre works:


As producer:


As producer:


As producer or executive producer:

Appearing as himself:


  1. http://www.filmreference.com/film/62/Michael-White.html
  2. Coveney, Michael (9 March 2016). "Michael White obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  3. Kennaway, Guy (5 October 2008). "Michael White's celebrity photo album". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  4. Bygrave, Mike; Joan Goodman; John Fordham (1973). The Other Careers: earning a living in the arts and media. Wildwood House. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7045-0052-5.
  5. Morley, Sheridan (1974). Theatre. Hutchinson. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-09-122290-1.
  6. Alan Travis (23 December 2000). "How two dames saved Oh! Calcutta!". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  7. White, Michael (1984). Empty Seats (1st ed.). H.Hamilton. ISBN 978-0-241-11348-6.
  8. Oliver Pfeiffer, "Gracie Otto's The Last Impresario to premiere at London Film Festival", SBS.com.au, 10 September 2013.
  9. Cara Nash, "'The Last Impresario' to premiere at BFI London Film Festival" Archived 5 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine, FilmInk.com.au, 5 September 2013.
  10. Charles Gant, "London Film Review: 'The Last Impresario'", Variety Magazine, 29 October 2013.
  11. Stephen Dalton, "The Last Impresario: London Review", The Hollywood Reporter, 13 October 2013.
  12. "Review: The Last Impresario" Archived 5 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine, WizardRadio.co.uk, 14 October 2013.
  13. "Veteran British producer Michael White dies age 80". Reuters.com. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
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