Oscar broadcast veteran Gil Cates dies

Nov 01, 2011 by Ian Evans

Director Louis J. Horvitz, producer Gil Cates and then-AMPAS President Frank Pierson talk to the press in the days before the 75th Academy Awards. Gil Cates, who produced 14 Oscar telecasts, died Monday at the age of 77.

Gil Cates, the man who produced more Oscar telecasts than anyone else, who directed plays on and off Broadway, who founded the Geffen Playhouse and served as a professor of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, has died at the age of 77.

The Emmy Award-winning producer-director, who helmed 14 Oscar® telecasts, collapsed in a UCLA parking lot on Monday. He had undergone heart surgery last month.

“Gil was our colleague, our friend and a former governor of the Academy,” said Academy President Tom Sherak. “He was a consummate professional who gave the Academy and the world some of the most memorable moments in Oscar® history. His passing is a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry, and our thoughts go out to his family.”

Cates, who produced the Academy Awards ceremony multiple times between 1990 and 2008, was responsible for getting Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart to accept the hosting job.