Dimitri Villard, Producer
Dimitri Serrano Villard was born on March 13, 1943 in Washington, DC. His father, Henry Serrano Villard (March 30, 1900 - January 21, 1996), was an American foreign service officer, ambassador and author. As a teenager, Henry served as a volunteer ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, becoming friends with Ernest Hemingway when both were patients in a Red Cross hospital in Milan. Dimitri's mother, Tamara Gringuts, and Henry were married for fifty years. They also had a daughter, Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave, an author and the wife of American journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave. Henry was the author of several books, including Hemingway In Love And War: The Lost Diary of Agnes von Kurowsky, Her Letters, and Correspondence of Ernest Hemingway. The book, coauthored with James Nagel, is the basis for the 1996 film In Love and War, which was produced as a film by Henry's son, Dimitri.
Dimitri attended Harvard University like his father, and was an Editor of the Harvard Lampoon. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard in 1964. After graduating, he served as a 1st lieutenant in United States Army, from 1965 to 1967. After leaving the military, he founded Jet Set Records, a memorable rhythm & blues label of the era. He then became a Vice President and Director of Havenfield Corp., a New York investment banking firm. Mr. Villard later co-founded Channel One, a pay television network that was acquired by Times Mirror Corp. In addition, since January 1982 to present, he has served as President and Director of Byzantine Productions, Inc., where he produced a number of feature films with major studios. His credits include In Love And War, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell (New Line); Once Bitten, starring Jim Carrey and Lauren Hutton (Goldwyn); Flight of the Navigator, directed by Randal Kleiser (Disney), Death of an Angel, starring Nick Mancuso and Bonnie Bedelia (Twentieth Century-Fox), Easy Wheels, starring Paul Le Mat and Eileen Davidson (Fries), and Say Nothing starring Nastassja Kinski and William Baldwin (HBO). In 1988, he was second unit on the comedy film Frankenstein General Hospital as well as the Skip Schoolnik movie Hide and Go Shriek, which he also produced. He was the President of New Star Entertainment Inc. (with Robby Wald), in Beverly Hills, from 1983 to 1990, producing Frankenstein General Hospital, starring Mark Blankfield; Hide And Go Shriek; and Purgatory, starring Tanya Roberts. He was also credited as a writer on In Love And War and Once Bitten. He also co-founded Image Organization, a film sales agency, and New Star Video, a video distributor. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where he serves on the Foreign Language Committee.
Previously, Mr. Villard was a Director at the investment banking firm Société Générale's Entertainment and Media Investment Banking practice, where he was involved in numerous financing and merger transactions, including the sale of Trimark to Lionsgate, and Polygram to Universal. From 2004 to 2008, he was Chairman of DAX Solutions, a provider of digital production services to the motion picture industry, and from 2009 to 2013, he was CEO of Peer Media Technologies, the leading supplier of anti-piracy services and business intelligence to the major studios, MPAA and recording industry.
Dimitri was a Senior advisor at Bannon & Company, from 1995 to 1996. Mr. Villard was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Peer Media Technologies, Inc., a public company Internet technology business, music and entertainment website, ad network and anti-piracy technology company (OTC: ARTD.PK), from February 2009 to December 2012, which changed its name from ARTISTdirect, Inc. in May 2010. Prior to that, Mr. Villard served as Interim Chief Executive Officer since March 2008 and as a Director since January 2005. Mr. Villard is also an advisor to Clinics On Demand, a telemedicine venture, AesculaTech, a biomedical device company, and Kangarootime, a SaaS company in the pre-school industry. He was a Managing Director at the investment banking firm Laidlaw & Co. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles chapter of the Tech Coast Angels, one of the largest private venture capital groups in the United States.
And because he wasn't busy enough, on November 3, 2002, he married computer f/x artist Tie Sandy Dong in Beverly Hills; he then continued his education and received a Master of Science degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from China International Medical University in 2005. "What's next," you ask, "cure cancer?" Maybe. He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Pivotal BioSciences, Inc., a biotechnology company that has developed innovative cancer therapies using the immune system, since 1999.
Prabook: Dimitri Serrano Villard, American film producer, investment company executive. Member Community Board for Mid-Town Manhattan, New York City, 1976-1980; committeeman New York State Democratic Committee, New York City, 1976-1980. 1st lieutenant United States Army, 1965-1967. Member WGA, Screen Actors Guild, Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Highlands Homes Association (director since 1997).
Discogs Profile: Dimitri Villard founded Jet Set Records, one of the memorable rhythm & blues labels of the era. Later, he co-founded the first pay cable television company to operate in California which he sold to Times Mirror.
Is the Marquis too Good for Hollywood?: "For the past 14 years, Hollywood producer Dimitri Villard has been pushing for a feature film or television mini-series about the Marquis de Lafayette with no success. The hurdles, Villard speculates, include that American audiences prefer their heroes to be Americans, not French, and that the Marquis' life was just too complex."
Villard: The Life and Times of an American Titan, by Alexandra Villard de Borchgrave, and John Cullen; Plunkett Lake Press, Aug 15, 2019. A book about Dimitri's great-grandfather, written by his sister. Dimitri is the great-grandson of Ferdinand Heinrich Gustav Hilgard of the Rhenish Palatinate of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Villard clashed with his more conservative father over politics, and was sent to a semi-military academy in France. As a teenager, he emigrated to the United States without his parents' knowledge and changed his name to Henry Villard, to avoid being sent back to Europe, and became a journalist, financier and president of the Northern Pacific Railway.