Longtime Academy Awards producer Gil Cates found dead in parking lot
Cause of death unknown
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Film and stage director-producer Gilbert Cates, who helmed 14 Academy Awards shows and headed UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television in the ‘90s, was found dead in a parking garage at the university, authorities confirmed today. He was 77.
Cates, who produced the Oscar broadcast most recently in 2008, was found dead at 820 Westwood Plaza about 6:30 p.m. Monday, according to a coroner’s investigator. The cause of death was not immediately available.
Cates was dean of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television from 1990 to 1998 and producing director at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood.
“Our entire TFT community is overwhelmingly saddened by the loss of our beloved mentor, colleague and friend,” said Teri Schwartz, the current dean of the school.
“Today we mourn our great loss but also celebrate Gil’s extraordinary vision and countless contributions, not only to TFT as founding dean and distinguished professor but to the entertainment and performing arts industries and education of our students, who benefited from his remarkable talent, insights, generosity, experience and wisdom,” she said. “Our deepest condolences and love go out to Gil’s beloved family at this very difficult time.”
Cates also was active with the Directors Guild of America, serving two terms as president. He was treasurer-secretary when he died.
His first year producing the Oscar broadcast was in 1990, the same year he became the founding dean at UCLA, where he was a faculty member when he died.
“Gil was our colleague, our friend and a former governor of the Academy,” said Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “He was a consummate professional who gave the Academy and the world some of the most memorable moments in Oscar history. His passing is a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry, and our thoughts go out to his family.”
According to the Academy, Cates was responsible for hiring Oscar hosts such as Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart.
Born Gilbert Katz in New York City, he produced or directed the feature films “I Never Sang for My Father” (1970), which got three Oscar nods, and “Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams” (1973), which got two nominations.
Other films included “The Promise,” “Once Summer Love,” “Oh! God Book II” and “Backfire.” He also produced on- and off-Broadway shows early in his career.
At the Geffen in 2006, he directed an adaptation of “Paint Your Wagon.”
He was an uncle to actress Phoebe Cates, probably best known for her role “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Comedian and eight-time Oscar host Billy Crystal will return to the Academy Awards stage to host next year’s ceremony, the Academy announced today.
Crystal actually broke the news himself by posting on his Twitter page, “Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show.”
Media mogul Cathy Hughes made headlines recently when she gave her honest opinion about the roles Black women have portrayed in films that have garnered them Oscars, namely Halle Berry for the 2001 film “Monster’s Ball” and Mo’Nique for the 2009 film “Precious.” Both played rather unsavory characters who shocked and dismayed some moviegoers. But their outstanding performances thrust them into American film history.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—"The King's Speech'' was king of Hollywood today with 12 nominations —including best picture and acting honors for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush—for the 83rd Academy Awards.
Also nominated for best picture were "Black Swan,'' "The Fighter,'' "Inception,'' "The Kids Are All Right,'' "127 Hours,'' "The Social Network,'' "Toy Story 3,'' "True Grit'' and "Winter's Bone.''
In the midst of the Academy Awards drama on Sunday, Feb. 24, one of the Onion’s writers (we don’t know who he is—I doubt a she would have stooped so low), described the lovely and talented child Quvenzhané Wallis with a filthy word that took her all the way out of her name.
Using a very crude word for female genatalia, the Onion writer observed that she was a c***.
The 12-year-old wears neat pigtails. Her dry, black skin seems to match the barren surroundings of her village, which is void of vegetation with the exception of a few weeds and battered corn stalks that resemble plant fossils against the backdrop of a doom-colored sky.