HOLLYWOOD (CelebrityAccess) – Hollywood giant and longtime MCA/Universal President and COO, Sid Sheinberg, passed away Thursday (March 7) at the age of 84.
His death was announced in an Instagram post by his son, producer-director Jon Sheinberg. No cause of death was immediately revealed.
Sheinberg, who along with Lew Wasserman, turned MCA Inc. and Universal Studios into major Hollywood players over the course of a 40 plus year career, was also known for taking a chance on a young director by the name of Steven Speilberg.
Under Sheinberg and Wasserman’s watch, Universal released the highest-grossing films of the last three decades of the 20th century, including Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park. Sheinberg’s other notable film successes included Schindler’s List and Back to the Future.
Commenting on Sheinberg’s death, Speilberg said in a statement to THR: “For now let me just say that Sid had a big personality and a tender heart. He was the tallest, most stand-up guy I ever knew. He gave birth to my career and made Universal my home. He gave me Jaws, I gave him E.T., and he gave me Schindler’s List. We were a team for 25 years, and he was my dear friend for 50. I have no concept about how to accept that Sid is gone. For the rest of my life I will owe him more than I can express.”
Outside of Hollywood, Sheinberg was also a power player in the music business, brokering the multi-million dollar purchase of Motown Records in 1988 and the purchase of Geffen Records two years later in 1990.
Sheinberg is survived by his wife, actress Lorraine Gary, and his two sons Bill and Jon.