Jewish Hollywood Producer Jerry Weintraub Passes Away

Jerry Weintraub, a Hollywood producer whose long career touched entertainers from Elvis Presley to George Clooney, died Monday at his home in Santa Barbara, California, his publicist said.

Weintraub, 77, died of cardiac arrest at his home, 155 km west of Los Angeles, publicist Michelle Bega said in a statement.

The old-style Hollywood mogul was “an American original,” former US President George Bush said in a statement posted on Twitter by his former spokesman Jim McGrath, and he and wife Barbara were mourning the loss of their “close and wonderfully irrepressible” friend.

Jerome Charles Weintraub started his career in the 1950s in New York as a talent agent for fringe acts like jugglers and acrobats, he told CNN in a 2010 interview.

He later made millions promoting rock concerts with headliners including Led Zeppelin, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

Starting in the 1970s, Weintraub moved into movie production, with such hits as Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975), The Karate Kid (1984) and more recently the Ocean’s Eleven caper trilogy starring George Clooney.

Weintraub most recently produced the Emmy-winning 2014 climate change documentary Years of Living Dangerously for the US-based Showtime network.

Known as a larger-than-life figure with a penchant for tall tales, Weintraub left a lasting impression on the business – literally.

He was the first producer honored by having his hand- and footprints cemented into the hall-of-fame sidewalk of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Bega said.

“In the years to come the stories and accomplishments will get better with age, just as Jerry would have wanted it,” Clooney said in a statement. “To those who didn’t know him, we send our deepest sympathy,” Clooney said. “You would have loved him.”

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