There’s no business like his business: Jerry Weintraub, producer extraordinaire and US Air Force veteran
Jerry Weintraub is a name among names in Hollywood, producing such films as The Karate Kid, Oceans Eleven (2003) and Nashville, among his repertoire. Weintraub started out as a mailroom clerk at MCA post his service in the Air Force in the 1950s. He was taught a strong work ethic growing up by his family and how to sell things, by his father. While at MCA he was an assistant for the great Lew Wasserman and eventually moved into managing.
Weintraub moved on to start his own personal management company and represented John Denver, Jackson Browne, Pat Boone, and his future wife Jane Morgan. He led and organized the first national tour of Elvis and then a tour for Frank Sinatra which cemented him as a concert promoter. His career went higher by managing Bob Dylan and conducting tours for The Beach Boys, The Carpenters and The Moody Blues.
Weintraub transitioned into producing films, with Nashville being his first. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards and won Best Original Song. He was off to the races now and produced Oh God! with George Burns and John Denver, All Night Long with Barbara Streisand and Gene Hackman and the original Karate Kid series.
He produced The Karate Kid, The Karate Kid Part II, The Karate Kid Part III and The Next Karate Kid and formed his own production company, Weintraub Entertainment Group, in the late 1980s. The firm eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1990. He went back to producing on his own and hit gold again in life, starting a new franchise, the Ocean's Eleven series with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
Weintraub passed away in 2015 at the age of 77 from cardiac arrest. He left a legacy of great films, music and relationships which can be further examined in the HBO documentary His Way. Highly recommend checking it out if you are or are not a military veteran. There are lots of great stories and interviews about his incredible impact on Entertainment.