Elvis' tour promoter and Hollywood mega-producer Jerry Weintraub, died Monday of heart failure in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 77.
Weintraub who got the Ocean's Eleven franchise to the big screen had been in poor health recently. His recent project was executive-producer on the the war-and-politics satire The Brink, for HBO. He was a three-time Emmy winner, his most recent two coming in 2013 for the Liberace biopic 'Behind the Candelabra'.
It was Weintraub who booked Elvis into Madison Square Gardens in 1972. He noted, "When I was 26, I started with $500, and $500 was a stretch at the time. I had Elvis and we started a tour in Miami Beach and we ended in San Diego. When I got to San Diego, I walked into the venue and my accountants came over and said: ‘Do you know how much money you’ve made on this tour?’ I said, ‘No, I have no idea, I just know we’ve been sold out of all the sessions we’re doing and everything’s great.’ And they said, ‘Well, you have $3-million in the bank.’ I said, ‘I have what? ... That’s not possible.’ I remember pulling back the curtain from backstage and I looked at all the people in the arena, 20,000 people, and it hit me. I said to myself, ‘My God, my life is never going to be the same. It’s changed. I got it. I did it.’
Elvis was a total original. I grew up on his music and I loved him and it was like a bolt from heaven and I knew my life would never be the same. It was that moment, it was that defining moment. In most successful peoples lives, there is a moment that just happens and I knew it was gonna be like that.
In 1972 I booked Elvis in New York. It was 4 shows - four shows, that's 80,000 people for a music star. They came and slept outside Madison Square Garden for two weeks to get tickets. They slept. They brought beds. They brought cots. They brought bed roles. It was amazing. And that had never been done before. Nobody had done it - but I did it with Elvis." The New York-born exec got his start as a music manager and promoter, at one time working for John Denver and promoting concerts for the likes of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and Led Zeppelin.
In 2007, he had his hand and footprints immortalized in cement at what is now Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theatre alongside Ocean's Eleven stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.