Elvis Promoter Turned Hollywood Producer Dies
Jerry Weintraub scored biggest hit with 'Karate Kid'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2015 12:33 AM CDT
Producer Jerry Weintraub accepts the award for outstanding miniseries or movie for "Behind the Candelabra" at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Sept. 22, 2013, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub called his 2010 memoir "When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead"—and at the age of 77, he has stopped talking. Weintraub was behind huge hits like Karate Kid and Ocean's Eleven, but producing was actually his second career, following major success as a music promoter, reports the Guardian, which describes how he built "a show business empire on a Rolodex and chutzpah." Weintraub, who started out as an NBC page after serving in the Air Force, founded his own management company in the '60s and ended up promoting tours for established superstars like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, as well as boosting the careers of up-and-comers like John Denver.

Weintraub, who died of cardiac arrest, had his name on dozens of movies, though his firm's bankruptcy in 1990 after an attempt to build an independent studio was a major setback, the New York Times reports. Among the many people offering heartfelt tributes is close friend George HW Bush. "Jerry was an American original who earned his success by the sheer force of his instinct, drive, and larger-than-life personality," Bush says, per the Guardian. "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." His final movie, a remake of Tarzan directed by David Yates, will be out next summer, reports the New York Daily News.