2004-03-10 / Features

Dana Broccoli, Producer’s Widow, Variety Boys & Girls Club Supporter, Dies

by linda j. wilson
Dana Broccoli, Producer’s Widow, Variety Boys & Girls Club Supporter, Dies

Dana Broccoli, Producer’s Widow, Variety Boys & Girls Club Supporter, Dies

Dana Broccoli with husband “Cubby” in 1968.Dana Broccoli with husband “Cubby” in 1968.

by linda j. wilson

Dana Broccoli, the widow of movie producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, one of the founders of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, died of cancer on Sunday, February 29, at her home in Beverly Hills. She was 82 years old.

A service was held March 4 at the Church of the Hills at Forest Lawn in Los Angeles, church spokeswoman Margerita Fayad said.

Dana Broccoli and her husband, film producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli were generous supporters of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, beginning in the 1950s when the club was started to offer boys an alternative to street gangs, which were then plaguing the area and the city at large. When membership was opened to girls as well, the Broccolis again generously supported the club by building the girls’ gym. When Cubby Broccoli died, Dana Broccoli became intensely involved with the club’s drama program. Her yearly contribution provided for an instructor and footed the costs of a production.

At the club’s drama production on Friday, March 5, the children, staff and board of directors paid tribute to Dana Broccoli. Dana and Cubby Broccoli were recently made lifetime members of the club. "Their names will never be removed from the club’s stationery," Thomas Nowierski, board president, declared.

"I only spent time with Dana Broccoli on three occasions," Mel Campos, executive director said, "twice at her place in the city for tea and once at the club itself. We spoke about the drama club, the children and their teacher, and she spoke glowingly of Cubby. She was a strong and confident lady. You could immediately tell what she wanted you to accomplish."

Born Dana Natol in New York City in 1922, she met her first husband, Lewis Wilson, at Cecil Clovelly’s Academy of Dramatic Arts. Together they had a son, Michael. After World War II, she and her husband joined the Pasadena Playhouse. After they divorced, she concentrated on her writing. She met Albert Broccoli in 1959, when she brought him an idea for a movie. They were married six weeks later, with Cary Grant serving as best man. In addition to Michael Wilson, she is survived by the three children she had with Broccoli, Tony Broccoli, Tina Broccoli and Barbara Broccoli, and five grandchildren.

Dana Natol Wilson Broccoli was president of Los Angeles-based Danjaq, which produces the Bond films and co-owns them with MGM, after her husband died. Danjaq, the film company that Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman founded in 1961, bought the film rights to Fleming’s Bond novels. "Dr. No," the first Bond film, was released in 1962. The Bond films, now numbering 20, are the longest-running movie series of all time. Three Bond films starring Pierce Brosnan, "Tomorrow Never Dies," "The World Is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day" were produced during her tenure. It was Dana Broccoli who endorsed Sean Connery for the lead role in the first James Bond films

Dana Broccoli wrote two novels, Scenario for Murder and Florinda, The latter was adapted as a musical, "La Cava," for which she wrote the book. It opened in London’s West End in 2000. Dana Broccoli was also the creative force behind turning "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" into a musical, for which she served as lead producer. The musical opened in London’s West End in 2002 and is scheduled to open on Broadway in spring 2005.

With Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, Dana Broccoli founded the Dana And Albert R. Broccoli Charitable Foundation to support the arts, children’s services, medicine, and higher education. At Johns Hopkins, the Foundation has established the Dana and Albert "Cubby" Broccoli Center for Aortic Diseases and supported the Walter J. Stark Distinguished Professorship in Ophthalmology. In addition, the Broccoli family has donated the proceeds from the East Coast premieres of three James Bond films to Johns Hopkins and the Broccoli Center for Aortic Diseases. In 2001, the Foundation established the Dana and Albert "Cubby" Broccoli Professorship in Oncology to advance discovery in breast cancer and vaccine therapies at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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