Eric Pleskow (born Erich Pleskoff; April 24, 1924 – October 1, 2019) was an Austrian-born American film producer and executive. From 1973 through 1978, Pleskow was president of United Artists. Following a protest from Transamerica Corporation, Pleskow co-founded and later ran Orion Pictures in 1978 through 1991. In his later career, he served as president of the Vienna International Film Festival from 1998 until his death.
Eric Pleskow at Viennale 2015
April 24, 1924
|Died||October 1, 2019 (aged 95)|
|Occupation||Film producer, executive|
|Known for||President of United Artists and Orion Pictures|
Due to his brief education in film editing, which he finished before joining the army, he became film officer for the United States War Department in 1945. He was assigned to rebuild the Bavaria Film Studios in Munich, Germany.
From 1951, he was working for United Artists and was responsible for the arranging movie rentals in Europe and South Africa until settling in Paris. In 1962, Pleskow traveled back to New York City as vice president of international distribution for United Artists. Eleven years later, he became president and CEO of United Artists. Under his presidency at United Artists, the company won the Academy Award for Best Picture three years in a row: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Rocky (1976) and Annie Hall (1977).
In 1978, Pleskow along with many executives from United Artists, formed Orion Pictures as a protest due to the constant interference from parent company Transamerica Corporation in the running of United Artists. He was a key figure in establishing $100 million in financing for Orion, including distribution through Warner Bros.. He was named president and CEO, a post he held until 1991. Their greatest successes under his management were Amadeus (1984), Dances with Wolves (1990) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
During his career, Pleskow was involved in the production of fourteen best-picture Oscar winners.
- Erens, Patricia (1998). The Jew in American Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-253-20493-6.
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- "Eric Pleskow, Former Head of United Artists and Orion Pictures, Dies at 95". The Wrap. October 1, 2019.
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- "Eric Pleskow Dies: Ex-President Of United Artists & Orion Pictures Was 95". Deadline. October 1, 2019.
- "ERIC PLESKOW (1924-2019)". Viennale. October 1, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "Eric Pleskow, Exec at United Artists, Orion Involved With Best Picture Winners, Dies at 95". Variety. October 1, 2019.
- "Austrian-Born Hollywood Producer Eric Pleskow Dies at 95". The New York Times. October 1, 2019.
- "Hollywood tycoon Eric Pleskow dies at 95". The Japan Times. October 1, 2019.
- "14 Oscars won: Film producer Eric Pleskow is dead". MSN. October 1, 2019.
- Barnes, Mark (October 1, 2019). "Eric Pleskow, Former President of United Artists and Orion Pictures, Dies at 95". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
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