| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 4 Saul Zaentz, the music industry
executive who became a film producer for three movies that won
Academy Awards for "Best Picture", has died at the age of 92,
his nephew Paul Zaentz said on Saturday.
Zaentz died on Friday at his San Francisco area home from
complications related to Alzheimer's disease, Paul Zaentz said.
Zaentz is best know for being a producer for acclaimed films
including the 1975 movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest",
"Amadeus" in 1984 and "The English Patient" in 1996. All three
were awarded Oscars for best picture.
"He was an amazing man," said nephew Paul Zaentz, who is
also a movie producer. "He always taught me to only make films I
am passionate about."
Zaentz was born in Passaic, New Jersey in 1921 and later
joined the U.S. Army, where he served in Europe and the Pacific
during World War II, according to his nephew.
Zaentz settled in San Francisco in the early 1950s and
worked as a concert tour manager for American jazz greats such
as Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan.
In the 1950s, Zaentz helped found Fantasy Records, the jazz
label that in the late 1960s helped launch Creedence Clearwater
Revival (CCR) to international fame.
Eventually, the band and Fantasy Records parted ways
acrimoniously, and the record label gained control of the rights
to the group's song catalog.
Saul Zaentz also had a long running legal battle with lead
singer John Fogerty over rights to songs.
After Fogerty released his solo comeback album
"Centerfield" in 1985, Zaentz sued the singer for copyright
infringement, claiming that a song on the new album contained
essentially the same chorus as CCR's 1970 hit "Run Through the
"He had an extreme sense of right and wrong, and if he felt
he was being wronged he'd go after it," nephew Paul Zaentz said.
Zaentz's lawsuit also claimed Fogerty had defamed him on two
other "Centerfield" songs, one called "Mr. Greed" and another
called "Zanz Kant Danz."
Zaentz eventually lost the copyright portion of the case,
and in an appeal that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme
Court, was made to pay Fogerty's legal fees.
"Saul never commented on statements John made about him over
the years, but the songs affected his children," Paul Zaentz
Zaentz later became one of the most influential producers in
Hollywood with a movie career launched later in life.
In the early 1970s, he teamed up with actor Michael Douglas
to co-produce his first big film project, "One Flew Over the
A bespectacled Zaentz with a thick white beard then went on
to serve as a producer on critically acclaimed movies that also
included "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" and "Goya's
Twice divorced, Zaentz is survived by two ex-wives, four
children and seven grandchildren, his nephew said.
(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Diane Craft)