James H. Binger, 88, Chair, Jujamcyn Theaters
James H. Binger, the chairman of Jujamcyn Theaters, died at his home in Minneapolis on Wed., Nov. 3. He was 88. The cause of death was cancer.
Jujamcyn, which owns five Broadway theatres, was launched by Binger's father-in-law, William L. McKnight, who bought the St. James Theatre on West 44th Street in 1956. McKnight, the president and chairman of the Minnesota manufacturing corporation 3M, ran the St. James and later the Martin Beck (since renamed the Al Hirschfeld), which he took over in 1966. In the late 1970s, Binger and his wife took over the chain following McKnight's death.
A Minnesota native and a breeder of Kentucky Derby winners, Binger was a graduate of Yale University and the University of Minnesota Law School, although his career in law was short-lived. In 1943, he joined the Minneapolis-based company Honeywell, an expanding electronics firm, became its president in 1961, and served as its chairman from 1965 to 1974.
Binger joined forces with Rocco Landesman, a young producer, in 1987 and moved into the world of theatre production in addition to being a theatre landlord. Over the next 17 years, nearly 100 shows were produced in his theatres, including "Angels in America," "Proof," "Into the Woods," "Love! Valour! Compassion!," "King Hedley II," and "Jelly's Last Jam." His productions earned 30 Tony nominations and eight Tony Awards.