Veteran movie producer Ismail Merchant died in a London hospital this afternoon (25MAY05). He was 68.

Film-maker Merchant, who alongside longtime partner James Ivory formed MERCHANT IVORY in 1961, is best known for producing critically acclaimed period drama films including Howards End and The Remains of the Day.

It currently remains unclear why Merchant passed away, but he had been suffering from stomach problems over the last year (begs04).

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS producer DAVID PUTTNAM says, "He was an extraordinary talent.

"What's gone is a major character and a unique film producer - someone who completely defined independence in the film industry."

Merchant was nominated for four Oscars, while his production company, Merchant Ivory, won six Oscars.

25/05/2005 21:37