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Overview (2)

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Birth NameEdward Lawarence Montoro

Mini Bio (1)

Edward L. Montoro is probably one of the most notorious filmmakers in the motion picture industry. He had originally planned a career as an airline pilot, but that dream ended in 1968 when he was in a major plane crash. He decided to change career options from pilot to filmmaker. He founded Film Ventures International (FVI) in 1969, in Atlanta, Georgia. Montoro directed and produced his first film, a "sexploitation" comedy entitled Getting Into Heaven (1970), which had some impact with audiences. That started Montoro on his lengthy career as a producer/distributor, usually of exploitation films, "B" horror pictures and Italian westerns and crime thrillers, which although shot cheaply managed to rake in impressive box-office receipts. Montoro's first major hit was the Italian import "spaghetti western" Boot Hill (1969), and four years later he hit it big again with another Italian import, a ripoff of The Exorcist (1973) called Beyond the Door (1974), starring Juliet Mills. Although the film was a hit with audiences, earning $9 million at the box office, "The Exorcist"'s distributor, Warner Brothers, filed suit against Montoro and FVI, claiming copyright infringement. However, the lawsuit was eventually dropped after it was discovered that Warner Brothers had no rights to some of the key scenes depicted in its film.

Montoro's most successful effort as a producer was Grizzly (1976), a ripoff of Jaws (1975) but with a bear instead of a shark, starring Christopher George and Richard Jaeckel. The film, directed by William Girdler, became one of the most successful independent films of that year, earning over $30 million (three times its budget) worldwide. However, Montoro's decision to keep the profits for himself led director Girdler and the film's co-producers to file a lawsuit. Girdler returned the following year to direct Day of the Animals (1977) with an all-star cast, also produced by Montoro. The film wasn't a major hit, and Girdler and Montoro parted ways after it was released.

Montoro continued making some impression with films such as Shock (1977), Hometown U.S.A. (1979) and The Dark (1979), all of which were not widely released, playing only to limited theaters. In 1980 Montoro picked up the Italian film The Last Shark (1981) and it was released in the United States. Although he put several million dollars into advertising, Universal Pictures felt that the film was too derivative of its monster hit "Jaws" and filed suit. The court agreed, and "Great White" was pulled from theaters. Although the suit cost several million dollars, it wasn't enough to cause Montoro and FVI to go bankrupt. He still had successful films that were getting impressive box office numbers, including The Incubus (1982), Vigilante (1982), They Call Me Bruce? (1982) and Kill and Kill Again (1981).

In 1982 Montoro formed a "sister" company to FVI, Artists Releasing Corporation, which helped to release such films as Mortuary (1983) and The House on Sorority Row (1983), neither of which mad much impact at the box office. Mutant (1984) was the last film produced by Edward Montoro. It opened in 1984 to some success, but it didn't recoup its costs and resulted in the demise of Film Ventures International.

After the release of "Mutant", Montoro was in the middle of a messy divorce from wife Joan, and she wound up becoming entitled to half of everything he owned, including Film Ventures International. Montoro was also very ill for several months and stayed at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Shortly after his recovery and release he took several million dollars from Film Ventures International's coffers and vanished, never to be seen again. The company was left in the hands of four executives, who tried desperately to keep it running, but it finally collapsed in 1985.

People in the industry still wonder what happened to Edward Montoro and why his movie empire started with such a big dream and ended in tragedy.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Blythe379@cs.com

Spouse (1)

Joann Montoro (? - ?) ( 2 children)

Trivia (6)

Notorious producer and distributor who was known for releasing exploitation and "B" pictures--often Italian imports--that were highly derivative (and in several instances direct rip-offs) of Hollywood blockbusters.
Had previously worked as an industrial printer, and later an airline pilot. After he had barely survived a major plane crash outside of Cleveland, Ohio, Montoro decided that his next career move was to make movies, and thus was able to start Film Ventures International (FVI) through private capitalists in Atlanta, Georgia.
He considered Grizzly (1976) the best picture he ever produced. It was also the top-grossing independent film of 1976, earning more than $39 million worldwide.
Son Michael Montoro works as a production assistant.
In 1984, after a string of financially unsuccessful pictures, losing a messy divorce and recovering from a serious illness, he took several million dollars from the accounts of his company, Film Ventures International, and disappeared. He has not been seen or heard from to this day.
Left the United States sometime in 1987 and was believed to flee to South America to avoid many law-suits filed against him. [1987]

Personal Quotes (2)

The days of the independent film are numbered. Independents are now going to have to product more of their own product to survive financially instead of relying on smaller distributors to pick up these films for release, now that television pay per view channels will want studio blockbusters. You have to spent at least $1 to $2 million to compete on any level at all.
Edward Montoro during the promotion of the 1982 release of "Great White" at the National Association of Theater Owners at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada in which Montoro had arranged for sharks to be transported there in a large aquarium: "We decided to do that only 17 days before the convention opened and we had to fly the sharks in from Florida in special tanks on a chartered air freighter. As far as we know they are the first sharks to swim in Nevada since the place was under sea two million years ago"

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