BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
One of the last of the classic Hollywood showmen, Jerry Weintraub built his show business empire on a Rolodex and chutzpah.
The Brooklyn-born son of a Bronx jeweler, Weintraub rose from the mailroom of a talent agency to become a top concert promoter before shifting into a decades-long career as a top Hollywood producer.
Along the way, Weintraub worked with the most famous of stars — Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, George Clooney, Brad Pitt — and was a close friend of former President George H.W. Bush. He relished his insider status, just as they savored the stories that eagerly poured out of him.
Weintraub, the dynamic producer and manager who pushed the career of John Denver and produced such hits movies as Nashville, Karate Kid and Ocean’s Eleven, died Monday in Santa Barbara, California. He was 77. A publicist for Weintraub said he died of cardiac arrest.
“Jerry was an American original who earned his success by the sheer force of his instinct, drive, and larger-than-life personality,” said Bush, a longtime friend. “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.“