Also Credited As:Mace Alvin Neufeld
About Mace Neufeld
Born Mace Alvin Neufeld on July 13, 1928 in New York City, NY, he was the son of Margaret Ruth and stockbroker Philip M. Neufeld. From an early age, Neufeld exhibited a keen interest in the arts, and by his teens, Mace was earning a name for himself as a photographer. In 1944, his snapshot of a returning World War II veteran, entitled, "Sammy's Home," became widely syndicated and was later proclaimed "Picture of the Year" by The New York World Telegram-Sun newspaper. Not long after earning his degree from Yale University, Neufeld began his television career with a production assistant job under Raymond E. Nelson at the DuMont Television Network - a rival to major networks CBS, NBC and ABC at the time. Music was also a passion for Neufeld, who wrote material for such noted performers as Rosemary Clooney, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the Ritz Brothers. Exceptionally ambitious, he later founded an independent production company and talent management agency, working with the likes of Don Adams, Don Knotts and Buck Henry.
In 1954, Neufeld married fashion designer Helen Katz, with whom he would go on to have three children, who surely delighted in the fact that their multi-faceted father had penned the theme song for the animated "The Heckle and Jeckle Show" (CBS, 1956-1966). By the 1970s, Neufeld's interest led him into more series television work with early efforts like "The Captain and Tennille" (ABC, 1976-77), a musical-variety hour starring the husband and wife pop duo, who also happened to be Neufeld's clients. He made the jump to feature film producing that same year with the satanic horror hit "The Omen" (1976), starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as a horror-stricken couple who discover they are the parents of the Antichrist, son Damien. Having enjoyed his work as a producer on the Western comedy "The Frisco Kid" (1979), starring Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford, there was no looking back for Neufeld, who threw himself into his new role with a variety of film and television offerings in nearly every genre. On the small screen, he oversaw the production of efforts like the inspirational fantasy "Angel on My Shoulder" (ABC 1980), as well as a respectable interpretation of John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" (ABC, 1981). He took a stab at a weekly series drama with the short-lived "The American Dream" (ABC, 1981), but with increased frequency returned to feature films for projects like the low-budget horror movie "The Funhouse" (1981) and the creature-comedy "Transylvania 6-5000" (1985).
Neufeld took his career and his Hollywood stature to the next level when he executive-produced the big-budget feature "No Way Out" (1987), a taut political-thriller starring a red-hot Kevin Costner opposite Gene Hackman as a corrupt secretary of defense. A modest success, it paved the way for Neufeld's first true blockbuster, "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), a nautical action-adventure starring Sean Connery as a defecting Russian submarine commander and Alec Baldwin as Dr. Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst trying to prevent an international incident. Flush with success, Neufeld formed a partnership with Robert Rehme and began producing projects exclusively for Paramount Pictures, the first of which was director John Milius' Vietnam War drama "Flight of the Intruder" (1991), which unlike "Red October" met with scathing reviews and audience indifference. Still keeping his feet in both worlds, Neufeld continued to oversee such television projects as the true crime Hollywood biopic "White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd" (NBC, 1991) and the short-lived adventure series "Lightning Force" (syndicated, 1991-92).
Despite the dismal failure of "Intruder," Neufeld/Rehme redeemed themselves with "Patriot Games" (1992), the hit sequel to "Red October," which installed Harrison Ford in the role of Jack Ryan as he attempted to protect his family from a vengeful terrorist (Sean Bean). Moving forward with a slate of high-profile films, Neufeld experienced the highs and lows common in Hollywood with disappointments like Eddie Murphy's ill-advised return to "Beverly Hills Cop III" (1993) counterbalanced by such reliable hits as "Clear and Present Danger" (1994), Ford's second outing as Jack Ryan. An unremarkable streak that included the Val Kilmer adventure "The Saint" (1997), the big screen adaptation of the sci-fi series "Lost in Space" (1998), the John Travolta military thriller "The General's Daughter" (1999), and the Kim Basinger supernatural thriller "Bless the Child" (2000) eventually gave way to the critical and commercial success of "The Sum of All Fears" (2002), this time with Ben Affleck taking on the role of the danger-attracting Jack Ryan.
Along with media mogul Ted Turner, Neufeld took on the massive undertaking that was the Civil War epic "Gods and Generals" (2003) with Stephen Lang as Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert Duvall as Robert E. Lee. The producer made another effort to launch a franchise based on a series of best-selling novels with the adaptation of Clive Cussler's adventure novel "Sahara" (2005), starring Matthew McConaughey as explorer extraordinaire Dirk Pitt. Unfortunately, "Sahara" failed to thrill theatergoers and left the planned for franchise stranded in the desert. More notable was director Clint Eastwood's tale of apartheid and the uniting power of sport, "Invictus" (2009), a based-on-real-life drama starring Morgan Freeman as South African President Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as the captain of the country's rugby team.
By Bryce Coleman
|Tita Cahn. widow of songwriter Sammy Cahn|
|Helen Neufeld. married on February 28, 1954|
|Nancy Ann Neufeld.|
|Philip M Neufeld.|
|Margaret Ruth Neufeld.|
|Bradley David Neufeld.|
|Glenn Jeremy Neufeld.|
|Yale University, New Haven , Connecticut|
|Yale University, New Haven , Connecticut|
|New York University, New York , New York|
|Became a production assistant for the Dumont Television Network; worked for Raymond E Nelson|
|Executive produced the ABC variety series, "The Captain and Tennille"|
|Executive produced the syndicated action series, "Lightning Force"|
|Formed an independent production company with Buck Henry and Mike Nichols|
|Served as a production executive on the NBC comedy series, "The Kids from C.A.P.E.R."|
|Was a founder and owner of Ray Bloch Assocs, a company for independent TV production and personal management|
|Wrote musical material for the Ritz Brothers, Rosemary Clooney, Sammy Davis Jr And Dorothy Loudon, among others|
|Worked as a professional photographer; won awards for his work by the time he was 16|
|His photograph, "Sammy's Home", depicting a returning veteran, was syndicated by International News Photo; photo later voted by THE NEW YORK WORLD TELEGRAM-SUN to be "Picture of the Year"|
|Wrote theme for the animated TV series, "The Heckle and Jeckle Show" (date approximate)|
|Produced the NBC game show, "Laugh Line"|
|First feature film, "The Omen"; credited as executive producer|
|Produced the NBC science-fiction comedy series, "Quark"|
|First feature credit as producer, "The Frisco Kid"|
|Set up Neufeld-Davis Productions with Marvin Davis|
|Produced the short-lived ABC drama series, "The American Dream"|
|Produced the Broadway revue, "The Flying Karamazov Brothers"|
|Established Neufeld/Rehme Productions with Robert G. Rehme|