Columbia taps studio head

October 04, 1991|By New York Times News Service

LOS ANGELES HC — LOS ANGELES -- Mark Canton, a 42-year-old film executive who once worked as a clerk in a Hollywood mailroom, was named president of Columbia Pictures yesterday and said that he would seek to accelerate the number of projects at the studio and make films that will be, he hoped, "socially relevant."

After weeks of turmoil, confusion, legal wrangling and embarrassment among officials of Sony Corp., which owns Columbia, the film company announced Mr. Canton's appointment to replace Frank Price, 61, an experienced film executive who took over in March 1990.

Mr. Price, who plans to remain aligned with Columbia as head of his own independent production company, will be paid $15 million to $20 million in a buyout deal, people at the studio said.

Mr. Canton, a former senior executive at Warner Brothers, said that he had no immediate plans to shuffle the executive lineup at Columbia, an expensive but traditional step when a new studio chief takes over.

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