Dan Talbot Dies, Leaving Legacy of Independent and Foreign Films

Dan Talbot, whose theaters and distribution company introduced New Yorkers to independent and foreign films over a period of decades, died on Friday, according to Ewnetu Admassu, manager of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, which Talbot and his wife Toby ran. He was in his 90’s.

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas is one of the last theaters in the city to show art house films, and a crucial distributor of hard-to-find foreign films. Next month, it is expected to be evicted from its home at 62nd and Broadway.

Talbot also owned the famous New Yorker repertory theater from 1960 to 1973 and founded the New Yorker Films distribution company. Variety said that Talbot had, “in effect, paved the way for the contemporary indie industry.” Little is known about the details of his death, although he was reported to be ill, and he made no comments about the closing of Lincoln Plaza.

Admassu said, “We’re in a state of shock.” Said Frank Rowley, administrator of the theater, “I’ll miss him. He had an overwhelming personality in a very gentle way. You’d never hear him make a lot of sound and fury. There was always concern for other people’s thoughts and feelings. I think you would have liked him. He wasn’t one for publicity. He didn’t really care whether he got his name mentioned or not. It was more important to pick the films that people were going to like and help the filmmakers establish their careers.”

Talbot gave a speech about his career in 2004 and advocated for a new system of raising money for independent films, which would allocate a small portion of total box office receipts towards their financing.

Services will be held Sunday morning, at 9:30, at Riverside Memorial Chapel.

Image via Berlinale.

NEWS | 21 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      Dan Talbot’s contribution is incredible. Thank you Mr Talbot.

    2. francesca says:

      A legend in his own time and beyond. R.I.P, Dan.
      Condolences to loved ones, especially Toby.

    3. Susan says:

      How sad to hear this! The Talbots made Lincoln Plaza Cinema what it is. End of an era.

    4. Janet Fried says:

      I am heartbroken about the demise of Lincoln Plaza Cinema.

      The Lincoln Plaza Cinema is the only theatre showing interesting, intelligent and thought provoking films for grown ups.

      A small part that is precious about New York will
      be gone forever. The flavor and the soul of the Upper West Side is surely diminished.

      I am bereft. I feel as if II lost a dear friend.
      I feel that a cherished friend has gone away. I am bereft

      • rs says:

        LPC is not “the only theatre showing interesting, intelligent and thought provoking films for grown ups.” Its closing is a loss but there are at least half a dozen other venues in Manhattan alone that fill that bill. One is right across the street–Film Society of Lincoln Center.

    5. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      Someone who upheld high standards of art. His legacy at Lincoln Plaza Cinema will be remembered. Godspeed Mr Talbot.

    6. Sue says:

      RIP. Your theatre was one of my favorite things about the UWS.

    7. Heather Gerson says:

      His work and persona will be missed. the passing of ourr favorite cinema will leave a void in the city.

      • LAURA says:

        Hi
        Are you the Heather Gerson from Rye, NY?
        I am LAURA Harris formerly from Rye and now from FLORIDA and East 56 St in NYC.
        I also feel very sad about the closing of this theater. It was one of our favorite places in the city. Perhaps someone else will take it over after repairs to the space
        I

    8. Bill says:

      I’m shocked. I went to Lincoln Plaza yesterday to see a film and to say goodbye to a place that means a lot to me, only to learn now that its founder passed away on the same day.

    9. Isabella Calisi-Wagner says:

      He will be sorely missed on the UWS! 😢

    10. Jen says:

      Rest in piece, Mr. Talbot. You are achievements and legacy won’t be forgotten.
      Condolences to the family.

    11. Ron Frank says:

      A trailblazer

    12. Phyllis says:

      Grateful to Mr. Talbot for his years of stewardship and good taste. He lived a long and meaningful life. He and his theater will be greatly missed. Condolences to Mrs. Talbot and their family.

    13. Jean says:

      I worked at the theatre box office and candy counter in the early 1970s. Easy hop skip and jump, as I lived directly across the street from the theatre. Was sad when Walter Reade twinned it.
      I was able to watch Woody Allen filming his movie there. Scenes were shot outside and inside the theatre. Late at night the lines would stretch around the block for The Rocky Horror Picture Show midnight screenings. Then into late, late night, the acoustics below the marquee must have been great, because a lone saxophone player would play into the wee hours of morning.
      Yup, miss the old place.

      • Jean says:

        I’m referring the the New Yorker Theatre.
        Robert Morse came into the theatre and spoke to me. He,was very personable.

        I remember Dan Talbot had two pugs. He’d bring them by the theatre.

        • davidaron60 says:

          What a wonderful story. I’ll never forget watching Dr. Strangelove and 2001 A Space Oddesy in a double feature there when I lived across the street from The New Yorker as a child back in the late 60s. RIP, Dan.

          For anyone interested, Toby Talbot authored a book in 2009 published by Columbia University Press entitled simply, The New Yorker Theater. Forward is by none other than Martin Scorsese.

    14. Alissa Torres says:

      Thank you for giving me so much.

    15. Beverly goldsmith Druck says:

      Baruch Dayan ha’emet. May he Rest In Peace.
      My friend and I, working women in our 60’s meet every Thursday and see a film at Lincoln plaza. Often we want to see 2 or 3. It is/ was a place of refuge, stimulation and and pleasure.we will miss it.
      I would have liked to know mr Talbot, from what I just read, but I appreciate more his desire to stay out of the limelight, do his job and do it well. My condolences to mrs Talbot and their children and grandchildren. A life well lived.

    16. Ralph Wharton MD says:

      Dan and Toby Talbot enriched the lives of tens.
      Of thousands of New Yorkers with their wisdom
      and fine taste in the movie world! A valued
      Light of New York has been lost
      RNWharton

    17. Amos Neufeld says:

      Thank you Dan Talbot for taking so many of us on a magical lifelong journey into the heart and soul of film. All of your theatres beginning with The New Yorker were spiritual and aesthetic cathedrals of film. In them I fell in love with so many: Vigo,Kurosawa, Ozu, Chaplin, Wenders and many others. You championed Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, that alone was more than enough. Your work and legacy was a gift to us all and to me was as essential as water and air. You will be greatly missed. Mrs. Talbot, please accept my deepest condolences.