Arnold Kopelson, a smart, scrappy film producer who knew the ropes and worked them hard, has passed at age 83. Condolences to all concerned but especially Arnold’s family (particularly Anne, his wife and producing partner) and friends.

The Brooklyn-born Kopelson produced 29 movies, and hit the jackpot three times within a nine-year period (’86 to ’95). His first grand slam was Platoon, directed and written by Oliver Stone and winner of the 1987 Best Picture Oscar. Six and a half years later came The Fugitive (’93) with Harrison Ford — cost $44 million to shoot, made $368 million domestic. Kopelson’s third biggie was David Fincher‘s Se7en (’95), which rewrote the serial killer genre and delivered one of the most stunning endings in motion-picture history.

I caught Platoon on opening night (12.19.86) at a theatre on La Brea just south of Melrose. I came out of the 7 pm show and spotted Kopelson standing under the marquee, alone. I went over, introduced myself and told him it’s an absolute hit and a near-certain Oscar nominee, etc. He presumably knew that but I wanted to tell him anyway. That film made me feel so great, so connected to everyone and everything. Historic.