Saul Zaentz, Producer of Oscar-Profitable Videos, Dies at ninety two

January 5th, 2014

Saul Zaentz, an acclaimed impartial film producer who adapted literary functions for the display and won best-photograph Academy Awards for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Amadeus” and “The English Patient,” died Friday at his condominium in San Francisco. He was ninety two.

Mr. Zaentz died of problems from Alzheimer’s disease, the producer Paul Zaentz, his nephew and longtime organization spouse, instructed The Linked Push.

Mr. Zaentz (pronounced zants) was comfortably in his 50s when he started creating motion pictures and had already manufactured a fortune in the tunes enterprise from the achievement of the rock team Creedence Clearwater Revival and the acquisition of a formidable jazz catalog.

In a enterprise driven by movie star stars and box-business office revenue, he staked his reputation and his income on serious, intelligent movies, typically based mostly on offbeat prizewinning textbooks or plays, that includes climbing stars and reasonably untested administrators passionate about the collaboration.

Doing work with Milos Forman, Anthony Minghella, Peter Weir and other administrators, he made only nine movies in his cinematic heyday, from 1975 to 2007, most of them with no Hollywood studio backing. They provided “The Mosquito Coast” (1986), “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1988), “At Enjoy in the Fields of the Lord” (1991) and “Goya’s Ghosts” (2007).

He made blockbusters and bombs, produced and dropped millions, and, even though applauded by critics, he never ever became a house name like Zanuck, Spielberg, Hitchcock or George Lucas. But his key hits (each and every a decade aside), “Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “Amadeus” (1984) and “The English Patient” (1996), received 22 Oscars for his actors, actresses, directors and other contributors.

And on Oscar night time in 1997, Mr. Zaentz received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for lifetime accomplishment and his 3rd best-photograph award. It crowned a job and an evening of triumph, with nine Academy Awards conferred on “The English Individual,” Mr. Minghella’s mesmerizing dramatization of Michael Ondaatje’s novel of adore and war established in the North African desert and a bombed-out Italian villa.

Described by The New York Moments in 1995 as the last of the great unbiased producers, Mr. Zaentz, a portly, balding gentleman with a complete white beard who go through voraciously and beloved baseball, financed his personal pictures when possible to keep innovative management, chosen his possess stars and directors and shot on spot to capture the beauties of an African desert, a ruined Tuscan monastery or the jungles of Central The usa.

Colleagues said he did not interfere with his artists’ perform. “Saul is the producer best simply because he recognized that a film has to be manufactured by one particular man or woman, the director, not by a committee,” Mr. Forman, who directed “Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Amadeus” and “Goya’s Ghosts,” recalled in 1995.

Berkeley was the home of the Saul Zaentz Movie Center, for several years the enhancing and seem studio for his and other independent films, and the Bay Spot was his religious house. There in the nineteen sixties and nineteen seventies he produced hundreds of thousands in the songs business: his grubstake for an autumn-of-existence film job that, critics mentioned, reflected his rebel persona and eclectic taste for fiction and drama.

Saul Zaentz was born in Passaic, N.J., on Feb. 28, 1921, one of five young children of Morris and Goldie Zaentz, Jewish refugees from a shtetl in Eastern Poland. He ran away from residence at 15, marketed peanuts at ballgames in St. Louis, made a little income gambling and traveled all around the country, hitchhiking and using freight trains. He enlisted in the Army in Planet War II and served in Africa, Europe and the Pacific.

Soon after the war he examined at Rutgers College, worked on a rooster farm and took a business system in St. Louis. He settled in San Francisco in 1950 and commenced doing work for a document distributor. In 1955 he was hired as a salesman by Fantasy Documents, a label whose roster provided the jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, the poet Allen Ginsberg and the comedian Lenny Bruce. He also managed tours for Duke Ellington, Stan Getz and other people.

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