Retired President of Sony Pictures Studio Operations and Production and second-generation industry executive Gary O. Martin passed away on November 2, 2023. Gary was a truly cherished member of our MPTF family for many years. During his time at Sony (Columbia Pictures when he started in 1981), he moved from production manager to President of Production (including physical production and post-production) in 1988 and added Studio Operations in 2003. Upon his retirement in 2013, Sony Pictures renamed its most storied sound stage, Stage 15 — one of the largest in the world – to the Gary Martin Stage. A mentor to many of today’s leaders in producing and production management, he was known as being smart, a straight-shooter, tough but fair, and fiercely committed to making sure that Sony Pictures got the best result for its investment.
Gary and his wife, Susan, were well known for their incredible generosity to MPTF. Gary first learned about MPTF from his father Ivan (who was Director of Studio Operations at 20th Century Fox) who believed in taking care of our own. Gary’s mother received wonderful care at one point at the Motion Picture Hospital. The Susan and Gary Martin Screening Room in the Louis B. Mayer theater complex on our campus is just one example of the Martins’ generosity. They funded an extensive gut renovation 10 years ago. Additionally, Martin and actor-director Clint Eastwood have supported MPTF’s benefits assistance program for military veterans in the entertainment industry for many years, and most recently Gary and Susan helped make our Memorial Garden a reality with their contribution. “We never had to ask Gary and Susan for anything. They were always one step ahead of us,” said Bob Beitcher, MPTF CEO and long-time friend of Gary. “Gary would ask, ‘What can we do that would make a positive impact for the residents?’ We’d give him the list of things we were considering, and he’d pick out the most ambitious item and say, ‘Susie and I want to give you the money for that.’ He was the best kind of donor, one who always gave from his heart.”