Oscar award winning producer Saul Zaentz died Friday, January 3rd, at the age of 92 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Some of Zaentz’s most famous productions include movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, and The English Patient.
Zaentz was also referred to as an “old Hollywood” producer, someone who cared about his films and doing whatever was needed to make his film the best. This mindset also caused him to take risks including putting up his own money for productions and using virtually unknown directors for his movies. This risk paid off with his production of The English Patient where unknown director Anthony Minghella won the best-director Oscar as well as 9 Oscar wins for the movie itself, Zaentz’ highest Oscar award winning movie.
In the mid-70’s, Zaentz acquired the film rights to the Lord of The Rings, later producing an animated version of the books. But it was not until Peter Jackson presented him with visual drawings of his vision that Zaentz decided to let someone produce a live-action film based off the book. His association with The Lord of The Rings is one of his most public affairs as he had a major part in The Hobbit movie making dispute.