Film executive Sydney Sheinberg has died at age 84. Sheinberg headed MCA Inc. and Universal Studios for decades during which time he boosted and mentored the career of Steven Spielberg, who for a spell in the ’70s was referred to as “Sheinberg’s folly.” During his stewardship of Universal, the studio’s hits included The Sting, Back to the Future, and the Spielberg-directed blockbusters E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park.
Sheinberg’s death was announced in an Instagram post by the former executive’s son, Jon Sheinberg. “Sadly, my dad (Sid Sheinberg) died today,” he wrote. “He was an amazing man and will be missed very much.”
Steven Spielberg has also paid tribute to Sheinberg. “My heart is broken at this news,” the director said in a statement. “For now let me just say that Sid had a big personality and a tender heart. He was the tallest most stand up guy I ever knew. He gave birth to my career and made Universal my home. He gave me ‘Jaws,’ I gave him ‘E.T.,’ and he gave me ‘Schindler’s List.’ We were a team for 25 years and he was my dear friend for 50. I have no concept about how to accept that Sid is gone. For the rest of my life I will owe him more than I can express.”