Montanan You Should Know: David Mirisch

David Mirisch documentary poster

David Mirisch is a legendary Hollywood PR man and member of the family that would produce some of the greatest films of all time. Now 86 years old, he and his wife live in Superior to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren. His abiding passion is humanitarianism, to which he’s devoted much of his life. A documentary about him entitled David Mirisch: The Man Behind the Golden Stars has been accepted into nine domestic and international film festivals and will see a wide release soon. 

My Montana connections run deep because: my wife’s mother was born in Winifred. The family later homesteaded in the early 1900s on the Swan River. My wife Sandy and I were married at the Chapel in Lakeside on Flathead Lake. 

The charities that I am most humbled to support are: Salvation Army, Kalispell, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network: Make-A-Wish, United Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury: Special Olympics, Foothill Aids, and the FSH Society. 

My favorite films that my family worked on are: West Side Story, Some Like It Hot, Hawaii, Fiddler on the Roof, The Pink Panther, In the Heat of the Night, The Great Escape.

When I think about Montana, I tend to think about: the beauty of the wide-open spaces, the big skies, the rivers and mountains. Down to earth people, too. 

The most surprising thing about a documentary having been made about my life is: that I was called by a viewing audience “A producer of Philanthropy.” It took two years to film, covering ten of my fundraising events throughout Southern California and the 20 interviews with Hollywood stars that are friends of mine, like Johnny Mathis, Pat Boone, Larry Wilcox, Robert Hays and Dionne Warwick.

David Mirisch and wife with Julie Andrews

David Mirisch and wife with Julie Andrews.  Photo source: David Mirisch

The thing that drives me to help people is: non-profit charitable organizations where I know I can be of help and the people whose hearts are aligned with those organizations. People who have a sincere desire to “make things better.”

The thing I love most about Montana is: the warmth and friendliness of the people no matter if they live in a small town like where I live (Superior) or Missoula (where we lived for four years).

My favorite Western film is: The Magnificent Seven, produced by my family and starring Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson and James Coburn.

I’m not slowing down anytime soon, because my next projects are: spending a lot of my time helping charities in Superior and throughout the state of Montana. Plus, a few that I am still helping in Southern California. My wife says she can’t keep up with me, and we’ve been married for 40 years. Am I slowing down at 86? Not really.

The thing that has surprised me most about returning to Montana is: that not much has really changed, except we now live in a town of just 800 people versus the 74,000 that live in Missoula.

My advice for others looking to enjoy the same accomplishment and longevity that I have is to: first, get a good wife. I am so thankful to my Sandy of 40 years for always looking out for me. And, as a senior, get out and about: stay active in whatever ways that you are still mentally and physically capable of doing. With this new era we live in it is easier to stay involved.

My proudest moment is: marrying Sandy and having three wonderful children and eight grandchildren is paramount in my life. And the making of the documentary on my life that I can leave for them and their children to know who their Papa was, and what he did for other people.

David Mirisch and Joe Mantegna

David Mirisch and Joe Mantegna.  Photo courtesy of David Mirisch

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