One of the first independent producers to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Jerry Weintraub, the son of a gem salesman, began his career as a talent agent for MCA in the 1950s. He was to represent such clients as Jack Paar and singer Jane Morgan who became his second wife. He formed Management III in 1965, and from a quite modest beginning (two partners, three clients, a small backing), became a leading concert promoter. With the founding of Concerts West, he was to handle such clients as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and the Beach Boys.
Robert Altman's groundbreaking Nashville (1975) was Weintraub's first production venture. This was soon followed with the successful comedy Oh, God! starring the legendary George Burns and 9/30/55 (aka 24 Hours of the Rebel ), the controversial Cruising (1980), and All Night Long (1981). In 1982, he produced Barry Levinson's Diner, which premiered a new generation of actors including Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, Mickey Rourke, Tim Daly, Ellen Barkin, and Steve Guttenberg. In 1984, he became involved with the first film in the Karate Kid series (1984, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2010).
In 1984, Weintraub helped deliver the Olympic Gala and the ABC telecast preceding the opening of the Los Angeles Olympic Games. There are over 100 television specials, such as Sinatra: The Main Event and An Evening With John Denver, with which Weintraub has been involved. In 1986, Weintraub was named Producer of the Year by the National Association of Theater Owners, and in March 1991, President George Bush appointed Weintraub to the Board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 1987, Weintraub produced Happy New Year and in 1992 Pure Country.
He made his first acting foray as the character Sonny Capps in Sydney Pollack's The Firm released in 1993. 1994 saw the creation of The Specialist, a thriller vehicle for Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone, released in Spanish as El Especialista. Weintraub again appeared in a bit part as Jilly in National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation (1997) which he also produced. After establishing Jerry Weintraub Productions, he generated a film remake of the modish British TV series The Avengers (1998), a sci-fi-thriller with Kurt Russell entitled Soldier (1998), The Independent (2000), Ocean's Eleven (2001), in which Weintraub acted the part of High Roller, and Dino (2002). Weintraub has also appeared as the character of Jerry for Full Frontal (2002), and as Larry Goldberg in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002). He later returned as a producer on Ocean sequels Twelve (2004) and Thirteen (2007). In 2015, his new series The Brink premiered on HBO; three weeks later, Weintraub died of cardiac arrest, at age 77.
Weintraub's many philanthropic activities included the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Music Center, and the Children's Museum. In 1988, the esteemed Scopus Award from the American Friends of the Hebrew University was given to Weintraub and his wife in gratitude for their continuous support.