Daniel Talbot, who operated the renowned Lincoln Plaza Cinemas with his wife, Toby Talbot, has died, reports Tom Brueggemann of IndieWire. His passing was confirmed by Ewneto Admassu, the longtime manager of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. News of Talbot’s death comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this month that the six-screen art-house theater on the Upper West Side will close by the end of January, when the cinema’s lease expires. Millstein Properties, a partner in the theater since its opening in 1981, has stated that it hopes to reopen Lincoln Plaza Cinemas after structural work to the otherwise residential building on the corner of Broadway and Sixty-Second Street, with a program in line with Talbot’s legacy.
The Talbots have been mainstay figures of the independent film community in New York since the 1960s. Daniel Talbot managed the New Yorker Theater in the early 1960s and founded New Yorker Films in 1965, a distribution company that started with the release of Bernardo Bertolucci’s debut film, Before the Revolution. Further releases included films by Jean-Luc Godard, Ousmane Sembene, Werner Herzog, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. He also released Louis Malle’s My Dinner with Andre in 1981 and Wayne Wang’s Chan Is Missing in 1982. Talbot shut down New Yorker Films in 2009.
Born on July 21, 1926, Talbot graduated from New York University with a degree in literature. Before he began working as a film distributor, he was a book editor, serving as the East Coast story editor for Warner Bros, and the film critic for The Progressive. He authored a collection of essays titled Film: An Anthology (1959). In 2004, the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) honored Talbot with its Gotham Award for Industry Lifetime Achievement. After Talbot cofounded Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in 1981, he told the New York Times, “When I look at movies, I don’t think of the box office. If it appeals to my aesthetic sense, if it has some artistic foundation, I take a chance with it.” For nearly four decades, Talbot drew audiences to the cinema with his screenings of foreign and indie films.