Renowned film producer Jake Eberts, whose movies include the academy award winning Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Dances With Wolves and Driving Miss Daisy, died Thursday in his hometown of Montreal. He was 71.
Eberts’ wife Fiona confirmed the news of her husband’s death in an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday.
Fiona, who revealed that Jake had been suffering from a form of melanoma for two years, said:
“I knew him for 44 years and if I’d written a description for a husband 44 years ago, it would have been him and that never changed. He was a tremendously moral, highly principled person. In Hollywood, he swam in a shark pond and came out completely with all his members and fingers and toes and his integrity. You can ask anybody in Hollywood, even people like Harvey Weinstein, who are not known for compliments, said he was a man of enormous integrity.”
During his four-decades in the film industry, Jake Eberts produced or financed over 50 films and won a total of 37 Academy Awards.
THR notes some of his other film making credits include The Dresser (1983), The Killing Fields (1984), Hope and Glory (1987), A River Runs Through It (1992), James and the Giant Peach (1996), The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000), Chicken Run (2000) and The Illusionist (2010).
Eberts, known for his financing savvy, also founded independent production company Goldcrest Films, as well as Allied Filmmakers, and also served as chairman of National Geographic Films.
In 1992, he was recognized for his achievements with the Officer of the Order of Canada honor.
“He was an extraordinary film producer and an extraordinary man,” said his close friend, Montreal director Denys Arcand. “He took filmmaking seriously. He felt cinema should be used to better mankind. This is a lofty standard in an age where movies are being adapted from comic books. He had such noble ideals and morals.”
Eberts’ final film project, the IMAX 3D documentary Jerusalem, is scheduled for release in 2013.