One of the first independent producers to receive a Hollywood star, Jerry Weintraub forged a career as an entrepreneur and jack of all trades, including talent manager, concert promoter, film producer and former chairman and CEO of United Artists, over 50 years in Hollywood.
“When I believe in something, it’s going to get done,” Weintraub said of his motto in his 2010 memoir, “When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead.”
The son of a gem dealer, Weintraub was born in Brooklyn in 1937 and was raised in the Bronx. Getting his start in the music business, Weintraub worked at MCA Records before forming his own management company in 1964, where he handled many big musical names, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, the Moody Blues and the Carpenters.
In 1970, Weintraub became the personal manager to singer and actor John Denver and went on to share a 1975 Emmy for the live concert special “An Evening With John Denver.”
Switching to films, Weintraub produced a slew of successful hits including Robert Altman’s “Nashville” (1975); the comedy “Oh, God!” (1977), starring George Burns and Denver; the “Karate Kid” movies of the 1980s as well as the 2010 remake; and all of the popular “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001) films. Weintraub was named ShowWest’s producer of the year in 2007.
Also known for his philanthropy, he joined efforts with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle in Not on Our Watch, an international advocacy and grant making charity.
“I'm not afraid to go out there and put my neck out on the table,” he told The Times in 2010. “If you are going to have celebrity like I do, I know this, you have to live with the consequences of it, the good and the bad.”
Weintraub died July 6, 2015, of cardiac arrest in Santa Barbara. He was 77.