John Calley expires

MUMBAI: Producer of The Da Vinci Code John Calley died on Tuesday. He was 81. His death was announced by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Calley - three-time studio chief, confidant of Stanley Kubrick rose to Hollywood‘s highest ranks by making gut-level bets on directors and writers and by gently and quietly steering them.

Stints at leading studios like Warner Brothers, United Artists and Sony gave Calley his A-list status in Hollywood‘s executive ranks, but it was his approach to those jobs that made him stand out.

Like any studio boss, he had his share of failures and purely commercial hits. While The Towering Inferno was a hit, he also directed films like Clockwork Orange (1971), The Exorcist (1973), Chariots of Fire (1981) and As Good as It Gets.
"When he believed in someone, he trusted and supported him," Mike Nichols, who collaborated with Calley in films like Catch-22 to Closer, said in a statement.

John Calley was born on 8 July, 1930, in Jersey City, the son of a car salesman, and, after serving in the Army, worked at 21 as a mail clerk for NBC in New York. After climbing a few rungs on the network‘s ladder, he left to join an advertising firm before giving film producing a try at Filmways, a production company mostly known for TV comedies like The Beverly Hillbillies.

In 1996, Calley took the reins of Sony‘s movie operation and delivered hits like Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise, but his biggest contribution to the studio involved restoring stability: Columbia, Sony‘s major arm, had four presidents come and go from 1991 to 1996.

He stepped down in 2003 but kept producing films for Sony that included The Da Vinci Code.

Calley‘s survivors include his daughter, Sabrina Calley, and three stepchildren, Emily Zinnemann, David Zinnemann and Will Firth, from his marriage to the actress Meg Tilly that ended in 2002.

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