Mark Johnson

Although executive producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber grabbed an Oscar the night "Rain Man" (1988) won Best Picture honors and posed for a widely-circulated picture, the real winner of the statuette was the film's producer Mark Johnson, longtime collaborator of its director Barry Levinson. The pair met on the set of the Mel Brooks comedy "High Anxiety" (1977) where Levinson was the screenwriter and Johnson an assistant director, and their partnership began in earnest when Johnson executive produced Levinson's acclaimed directorial debut, "Diner" (1982). After that, he served as producer on all 10 of Levinson's movies through "Jimmy Hollywood" (1994), as well as co-executive producing the short-lived ABC comedy series "Harry" (1987). Although the self-effacing Johnson does not attribute any of the artistic achievement of these films (including "The Natural" 1984, "Tin Men" 1987, "Avalon" 1990, and "Bugsy" 1991) to his efforts, he clearly showed a sensitive and supportive talent for opening creative spaces for Levinson, his actors and crew.