Ocean’s Eleven, The Karate Kid Producer Jerry Weintraub Dies At 77

Ocean’s Eleven, The Karate Kid Producer Jerry Weintraub Dies At 77
The Karate Kid – Cannes Film Festival 2010 Jamie Davies / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Producer Jerry Weintraub, recognized for Ocean’s movies and “The Karate Kid” and promoting Elvis Presley concerts, passed away in Santa Barbara, his publicist said. Weintraub was 77.


Weintraub suffered a cardiac arrest.

Former President George H.W. Bush, longtime friend of Weintraub’s, expressed his sorrow in a tweet.

According to TIME, Weintraub had worked with the likes of Presley and Steven Soderbergh. Even during his last years, he was engaged in work. He was serving as the executive producer of HBO’s political satire “The Brink,” and won three Primetime Emmy awards last year for “Years of Living Dangerously.”

Weintraub was a music manager and promoter during the initial years of his career. In addition to Presley, he also promoted concerts for Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and Led Zeppelin.

Reaching an agreement with Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker, landed him with millions and also earned him the reputation of being one of the most successful international concert promoters.

Weintraub described Presley as “very, very smart.”

“He was completely aware of the level of fame because that’s what destroyed him. He was cloistered, he was locked up all the time, he couldn’t go out to a restaurant unless we closed the restaurant, he couldn’t go to a movie unless we closed the theater … it’s a very hard way to live. Listen: He gave up his freedom knowingly because he was such a huge star,” Weintraub said.

Weintraub’s first production credits include Robert Altman’s “Nashville” (1975), “Oh, God” (1977), “Diner” (1982) and “The Karate Kid” (1984).

He produced the three Ocean’s movies in the 2000s and “The Karate Kid” remake (2010).

He was also recognized for his production work on “Behind the Candelabra, 41” – a documentary about Bush – and the upcoming movie “Tarzan” slated for a release in 2016. The movie stars Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie and Samuel Jackson.

In a statement, George Clooney said, “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,” as reported by E! Online.

Clooney’s “Ocean’s Eleven” co-star Don Cheadle also paid tribute to the legendary producer.

“Jerry was to me equal parts Godfather, rainmaker, caretaker, PT Barnum and friend,” Cheadle said. “I am happier for having known him. He will be sorely missed.”

Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara said in a statement, “Jerry Weintraub was the consummate producer. He was creative, driven and could make projects come together like nobody else in the business. Warner Bros. was fortunate to have a relationship with Jerry for almost four decades, including several projects currently in production.  He was a true original and he will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”

In 2010, Weintraub spoke to CNN about some of his clients, saying he had “faith in them.”

“I believed in my artists. Everything’s that’s Cirque du Soleil right now — contortionists, jugglers, acrobats — those were the people I was around.”

Over the years, he managed to successfully step up his game, promoting Led Zeppelin concerts, managing Denver during the glorious 1970s, and working with Sinatra.

“I have a hit book, I have a wonderful life and I’m doing a million things in the theatrical business. Why would I have any regrets?” he had said in 2010. “I can’t have any regrets. They’d have to give me a lobotomy.”

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