'Ocean's Eleven' and 'Karate Kid' Producer Jerry Weintraub Dead at 77
Veteran producer Jerry Weintraub, a well-known force in Hollywood, died of cardiac arrest in Santa Barbara Monday at the age of 77.
Weintraub was an old-school impresario and showman who started out as a concert promoter and music manager, then became a successful movie producer in a career that spanned five decades.
"All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage," Weintraub wrote in his memoir. "I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: 'Jerry Weintraub Presents.'"
Born in Brooklyni n 1937, Weintraub first broke into showbiz through music. He worked with Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, and Frank Sinatra, and managed artists including Led Zeppelin and John Denver.
In 1975, Weintraub moved into film production with Robert Altman's "Nashville." In the next decade, he producer more hits, the biggest of them all being "The Karate Kid." But then, in 1990, the producer had a major setback — his company declared bankruptcy.
He got back on track in 2001 with what would become a huge franchise — the star-studded "Ocean's Eleven." Weintraub even made cameos in that movie, as well as "Ocean's Twelve" and "Ocean's Thirteen."
George Clooney, who starred in all three films, released this statement about Weintraub: "In the coming days there will be tributes, about our friend Jerry Weintraub. We'll laugh at his great stories, and applaud his accomplishments. And in the years to come the stories and accomplishments will get better with age, just as Jerry would have wanted it. But not today. Today our friend died. To his family and friends, Amal and I send our love. And to those who didn't know him we send our deepest sympathy. You would have loved him."
In his personal life, Weintraub was an ardent supporter of the Republican party and a close friend of former president George H.W. Bush, who said, "Jerry was an American original, who earned his success by the sheer force of his instinct, drive, and larger-than-life personality. He had a passion for life, and throughout the ups and downs of his prolific career it was clear just how much he loved show business."
Weintraub is survived by his estranged wife, Jane Morgan; his longtime companion, Susie Ekins; and four children — Michael, Julie, Jamie, and Jody.
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