Producer Jerry Weintraub Dead at 77; Film & TV Titan's Credits Included Ocean's Eleven and The Karate Kid

Former United Artists studio chief died July 6

By Natalie Finn Jul 06, 2015 9:53 PMTags
George Clooney, Jerry Weintraub, Matt DamonKevin Mazur/WireImage

Hollywood is down a lion.

Jerry Weintraub, the mega-producer and onetime head of United Artists studio, died Monday of heart failure in Santa Barbara, Calif., a representative for him E! News. He was 77.

The exec—who helped shepherd the likes of Nashville, Diner, the original Karate Kid and the Ocean's Eleven franchise to the big screen and titled his 2009 memoir When I Stop Talking, You'll Known I'm Dead—had been in poor health.

Weintraub's most recent project was executive-producing the war-and-politics satire The Brink, which just premiered, for HBO. He was a three-time Emmy winner, his most recent two coming in 2013 for HBO's Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra and in 2014 for the documentary Years of Living Dangerously.


The New York-born exec got his start as a music manager and promoter, at one time working for John Denver (hence him producing the Denver-George Burns comedy Oh, God!) and promoting concerts for the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and Led Zeppelin.

Along with Oh, God!, one of his first big-screen producing credits was the Robert Altman-directed Nashville in 1975.

In 2007, he had his hand and footprints immortalized in cement at what is now Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theatre alongside Ocean's Eleven stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.

"In the coming days there will be tributes, about our friend Jerry Weintraub," Clooney said in a statement obtained by E! News. "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."

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In an first-person essay published in the March issue of Vanity Fair, Weintraub described his perfect day in Los Angeles as "every day."

"I love my work, so it actually feels more like fun. I am lucky enough to speak with some of the most interesting and creative people in the world," he wrote. The film and TV-maker ultimately concluded, "Every day has moments of perfection because, when you're living your dream, every day feels perfect."

Twitter tributes of course started pouring in as soon as the news broke of Weintraub's passing, the consensus being that Hollywood won't be seeing another like him anytime soon.