Former Universal Executive Tom Pollock Dead at 77

Former Universal Pictures executive Tom Pollock has passed away at 77. The attorney-turned-film executive died Saturday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering from a heart attack. After his Universal Pictures days, the executive founded and help run The Montecito Picture Company with filmmaker Ivan Reitman.

Born in 1943, Pollock got his first Hollywood gig as an assistant to the American Film Institute's George Stevens. Pollock founded his own law firm in 1970 and signed George Lucas as a client, leading the filmmaker to make one of the biggest deals in Hollywood history. Brokered by Pollock, Lucas' deal let the director retain the rights of the Star Wars franchise, something he held until selling it to Disney in the 2000s.

The executive was hired as Universal Pictures chairman in 1986, where he helped the studio tally seven Oscar nominations, including his time overseeing production on Schindler's List. Other films Pollock oversaw while at Universal include Jurassic Park, Field of Dreams, Apollo 13, Babe, Fried Green Tomatoes, Cape Fear, Parenthood, Kindergarten Cop, Beethoven, Casper, and The Flinstones.

“We are incredibly saddened by the loss of Tom Pollock. He played a critical role in securing our Studio’s legacy, and was an extraordinary executive, influential attorney, and a dear friend to so many of us,” NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer said in a statement. “We will forever feel his impact on our company and within our industry. On behalf of everyone at Universal, we send our deepest condolences to his family and honor his extraordinary accomplishments.”

While at Montecito, Pollock produced a number of fan-favorite films including Road Trip, Old School, I Love You, Man, Hitchcock, Baywatch, and Ghostbusters.