Tom Pollock, the former chairman of Universal Pictures and the American Film Institute, has died, TheWrap has learned from longtime law partner Alan Hergott and screenwriter Nicholas Meyer. Pollock was 77.
As an entertainment lawyer and later a producer and studio head, Pollock helped several iconic filmmakers get their start and oversaw the release of some of the most famous blockbusters ever released. As a lawyer starting his own firm in 1970, one of his first clients was George Lucas, who he took on as he was working on his debut film “THX-1138.” Pollock later helped Lucas secure a fortune by negotiating the merchandising and sequel rights to “Star Wars.”
He went on to be instrumental in initiating production of the “Indiana Jones” and “Superman” film franchises.
In 1986, he became EVP of MCA and Chairman of Universal Pictures, overseeing the release of multiple record-breaking box office hits and Oscar winners, including “Jurassic Park,” the “Back to the Future” sequels, “Schindler’s List” and “Field of Dreams.” In 1996, he left to become chairman of the American Film Institute and founded the Montecito Picture Company two years later, serving as an executive producer on the 2009 Oscar-nominated film “Up in the Air.”
Pollock also served as an adjunct film professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, lending his name to the school’s Pollock Theater, where screenings and guest presentations by filmmakers are held. As AFI Chairman, he oversaw the production of the institute’s “100 Years…100 Movies” TV special. After stepping down as chairman, he continued to serve as vice-chair of the AFI board and head of the AFI Awards jury until his death.
Pollock is survived by three children and four grandchildren. The cause of death is not currently known.
Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2020 (Photos)
David Stern The former longtime commissioner of the NBA died Jan. 1 following a brain hemorrhage, according to a statement from current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. He was 77.
Andrew Burkle Andrew Burkle, an aspiring film producer and the son of billionaire Ron Burkle, died Jan. 6 in his Beverly Hills home, according to People Magazine. He was 27.
Elizabeth Wurtzel The author of the seminal 1994 memoir “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America” died in a Manhattan hospital on Jan. 7 at age 52.
Silvio Horta Silvio Horta, creator of ABC comedy series “Ugly Betty,” was found dead in a Miami motel room Jan. 7. He was 45.
Neil Peart The drummer and lyricist for the ’70s and ’80s Canadian progressive rock band Rush died on Jan. 7, according to the band’s Twitter account. He was 67.
Harry Hains Harry Hains, an actor and producer who had appeared on “American Horror Story: Hotel,” “The OA,” “Sneaky Pete” and “The Surface,” died on Jan. 7. He was 27.
Buck Henry The actor-screenwriter-director who co-created “Get Smart,” co-wrote “The Graduate” and co-directed the hit 1978 Warren Beatty film “Heaven Can Wait” died on Jan. 8 in Los Angeles. He was 89.
Edd Byrnes The actor, who played Vince Fontaine in “Grease” and also starred on the series “77 Sunset Strip” as the teen idol “Kookie,” died on Jan. 8. He was 87.
Ivan Passer Ivan Passer, a pioneering filmmaker in the Czech New Wave, a frequent collaborator with the late Milos Forman and the director of the 1981 film “Cutter’s Way,” died on Jan. 9. He was 86.
Stan Kirch Stan Kirsch, one of the stars of the syndicated ’90s fantasy drama “Highlander: The Series,” died on Jan. 11. He was 51.
Rocky Johnson Rocky Johnson, a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and the father of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, died on Jan. 15 at the age of 75.
Terry Jones Terry Jones, a beloved member of the Monty Python comedy troupe who directed many of its classic films, died Jan. 21. He was 77.
Tyler Gwozdz Former “Bachelorette” contestant Tyler Gwozdz, who appeared on the 2019 season of the reality series, died Jan. 22 of a suspected drug overdose at age 29.
Kobe Bryant Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant was killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on that killed four others. He was 41 Getty Images
Kirk Douglas Kirk Douglas, the prolific actor and producer whose “Spartacus” is credited with helping to end the Hollywood blacklist, patriarch of a successful entertainment dynasty and one of the last surviving stars of …
F.X. Feeney F.X. Feeney, a longtime film critic for LA Weekly, a film historian and a screenwriter, died on Feb. 5 after suffering several strokes over the previous few days. He was 66.
Kevin Conway Kevin Conway, known for his roles in films like “Gettysburg” and ‘Thirteen Days,” died on Feb. 5 of a heart attack. He was 77.
Orson Bean Veteran character actor Orson Bean, a regular on shows like “To Tell the Truth” and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and star of “Being John Malkovich,” died the night of Feb. 7 at age 91 after he was struck and kil…
Robert Conrad Robert Conrad, who was the star of the 1960s TV series “Wild Wild West,” died from heart failure on Feb. 8 at the age of 84.
Raphael Coleman Raphael Coleman, who starred as Eric in the 2005 Emma Thompson movie “Nanny McPhee” and went on to devote himself to environmental activism, died suddenly on Feb. 7 at the age of 25.
Paula Kelly Paula Kelly, an Emmy-nominated actress known for TV series like “Night Court” and films like “Sweet Charity” and “The Andromeda Strain,” died on Feb. 8 in Whittier, California. She was 77.
Joseph Vilsmaier Joseph Vilsmaier, a German director and cinematographer behind the acclaimed 1993 World War II drama “Stalingrad” died “peacefully” at his home in Bavaria. He was 81.
Caroline Flack Caroline Flack, former host of “Love Island,” died at the age of 40 on Feb. 15. A lawyer for the family told BBC that Flack died by suicide.
Daniel Lee Martin Daniel Lee Martin, country singer and host of “Brotherhood Outdoors,” was found dead in his Pasco County, Florida, home on Feb. 14 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 54.
Nikita Pearl Waligwa Nikita Pearl Waligwa, the young actress seen in the 2016 Disney film “Queen of Katwe,” died on Feb. 15, according to the Ugandan newspaper The Daily Monitor. Waligwa, who was diagnosed with a brain tu…
Jason Davis Jason Davis, best known as the voice of Mikey Blumberg on Disney Channel’s “Recess,” died on Feb. 16. He was 35.
Ja’net Dubois Ja’net Dubois, starred on the CBS sitcom “Good Times” and wrote and performed the theme song to “The Jeffersons,” passed away on Feb. 18. She was 74.
Katherine Johnson Katherine Johnson, a pioneering mathematician and NASA employee who was pivotal in helping in America’s space race and was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film “Hidden Figures,” died on Feb. 24. She …
James Lipton “Inside the Actors Studio” host James Lipton passed away on March 2 after a battle with bladder cancer. He was 93.
Max von Sydow “The Exorcist” star Max von Sydow died on March 8 at the age of 90.
Lorenzo Brino Lorenzo Brino, a former child star in the family drama “7th Heaven,” died in a car accident on March 9, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
Beatrice Beatrice, who played the beloved French bulldog Stella on the last seven seasons of “Modern Family,” died March 9 shortly after the cast shot the series finale.
Stuart Whitman Stuart Whitman, a star of Westerns alongside John Wayne like “The Comancheros” and the war movie “The Longest Day,” died in his home March 16, his son told TMZ. Whitman was 92.
Lyle Waggoner Lyle Waggoner, an actor known for starring on “The Carol Burnett Show” and the ’70s “Wonder Woman” TV series, died March 17 at age 84.
Maggie Griffin Maggie Griffin, Kathy Griffin’s mother and co-star of her Bravo reality series “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” died March 17 at age 99.
Kenny Rogers Country music legend Kenny Rogers passed away on March 20 at the age of 81. According to a statement, he died of natural causes.
Terrence McNally Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally died on March 24 of complications from the coronavirus. He was 81. Getty Images
Adam Schlesinger Adam Schlesinger, the lead singer-songwriter from the rock band Fountains of Wayne and a music producer and composer on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” died on April 1 due to complications from the coro… Getty Images
Ellis Marsalis Jr. Ellis Marsalis Jr., New Orleans jazz legend and father of Wynton and Branford Marsalis, died from COVID-19 complications April 1. “Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we… Getty Images
Eddie Large Eddie Large, one-half of the comedy duo Little and Large, died April 2 after contracting coronavirus while hospitalized for heart failure. He was 78. Getty Images
Ed Farmer Ed Farmer, MLB player turned White Sox radio announcer, died April 1. He was 70. Getty Images
Jeff Grosso Jeff Grosso, the legendary skateboarder who hosted Vans’ “Loveletters to Skating” video series, died March 31 in Costa Mesa, Calif. He was 51.
Bill Withers Bill Withers, the 1970s singer of classics like “Lean On Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” died on March 30 at the age of 81. Getty Images
Patricia Bosworth Patricia Bosworth, a stage and screen actress turned journalist who penned celebrity biographies, died April 2 from complications of the coronavirus. She was 86. Getty Images
Honor Blackman Honor Blackman, the British actress best known for her roles in “The Avengers” series and “Goldfinger” film of the 1960s, died at the age of 94, her family announced on April 6.
Chynna Rogers Rapper and model Chynna Rogers died on April 8. She was 25.
Dieter Laser Dieter Laser, the German actor best known for his role as the deranged doctor in “The Human Centipede,” died on Feb. 29. He was 78.
Brian Dennehy Actor Brian Dennehy, a Tony and Golden Globe-winning actor, passed away on April 15 of natural causes. He was 81.
Irrfan Khan Irrfan Khan, the Indian actor who increased his fame beyond Bollywood with his roles in English-language hits such as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi,” died April 29 in Mumbai at age 53.
Sam Lloyd Sam Lloyd, best known for his role as downtrodden lawyer Ted Buckland on “Scrubs,” died on April 30. He was 56.
Don Shula Legendary NFL coach Don Shula passed away on May 4 at the age of 90. Getty Images
Brian Howe Brian Howe, the lead singer for the British rock supergroup Bad Company and a former vocalist for Ted Nugent, died on May 6. He was 66.
Andre Harrell Longtime music executive Andre Harrell, who founded the hip-hop label Uptown Records and mentored Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, died on May 7 at age 59
Roy Horn Magician Roy Horn, best known as half of the legendary Siegfried & Roy magic and animal act in Las Vegas, died on May 8 from complications due to coronavirus. Getty Images
Little Richard Little Richard, the singer and pianist who became a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer with his high-energy musicianship and boundary-pushing personality, died on May 9 at age 87 from unspecified causes. Getty Images
Jerry Stiller Jerry Stiller, the Emmy-nominated comedy legend of TV sitcoms “Seinfeld” and “King of Queens,” passed away on May 11. He was 92. Getty Images
Phyllis George Phyllis George, a former Miss America winner who went on to become one of the first female broadcasters covering the NFL — and later, the First Lady of Kentucky — died on May 14 at the age of 70. Getty Images
Fred Willard Comedic actor Fred Willard, best known for his roles in “Spinal Tap” and “Modern Family,” passed away on May 15 at the age of 86. Getty Images
Lynn Shelton Director and producer Lynn Shelton, who worked on indie films as well as several big-name television series, died on May 16 from a previously undisclosed blood disorder. She was 54. Getty Images
Ken Osmond Ken Osmond, best known for his role as Eddie Haskell on “Leave It to Beaver,” died on May 18 at the age of 76. Getty Images
Chris Trousdale Chris Trousdale, a former member of the boy band Dream Street, died on June 2. His former bandmate, Jesse McCartney, said he died “due to complications from COVID-19.” He was 34.
Bonnie Pointer Bonnie Pointer, a member of the iconic R&B group The Pointer Sisters, passed away on June 8. She was 69. Getty Images
Ian Holm “Lord of the Rings” star Ian Holm passed away on June 19. He was 88. Getty Images
Joel Schumacher Joel Schumacher, director of films like “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Client” and “A Time to Kill,” died on June 22 after a long battle with cancer. He was 80. Getty Images
Carl Reiner Legendary entertainer Carl Reiner, perhaps best known as the creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” died on June 29. He was 98. Getty Images
Ronald L. Schwary Ronald L. Schwary, Oscar-winning producer of Robert Redford’s 1980 drama “Ordinary People,” died on July 2 at age 76, his family announced. Getty Images
Hugh Downs Longtime TV news anchor Hugh Downs passed away on July 2 at the age of 99. Getty Images
Nick Cordero Tony Award-nominated actor Nick Cordero died on July 5 due to complications from coronavirus. He was 41. Getty Images
Ennio Morricone Oscar-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone, died on July 6 at age 91, his lawyer told the New York Times. Morricone became famous for his melodic scores for 1960s Westerns like “The Good, T… Getty Images
Charlie Daniels Charlie Daniels, a country music and Southern rock legend known for his song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” died on July 6. He was 83. Getty Images
Lil Marlo Atlanta rapper Lil Marlo (né Rudolph Johnson), best known for his 2017 hit “2 the Hard Way” with Lil Baby, was shot and killed in his native Atlanta on July 12, Fulton County Medical Examiner’s offic… Getty Iamges
Kelly Preston Actress Kelly Preston, who starred in such films as “Twins” and “Jerry Maguire,” died on July 12 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. The star, who had three children with husband John Tra… Getty Images
Naya Rivera Former “Glee” star Naya Rivera was found dead on July 13 after going missing the week prior while out on a boat with her son in Ventura County, California. She was 33. Getty Images
Grant Imahara Grant Imahara, the engineer and roboticist who helped test some of the world’s most famous rumors on the iconic Discovery Channel series “Mythbusters,” died on July 13 at the age of 49. Getty Images
John Lewis John Lewis, the civil rights icon who played a key role in some of the most important battles of the era, died on July 17 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Getty
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