Former Academy President Tom Sherak Passes Away at 68
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Sherak was president of the Academy from 2009-2012. He also spent much of his time raising funds for the Southern California Multiple Sclerosis Society. His efforts contributed around $40 million to the organization over the course of 20 years.
Despite his recent cancer diagnosis, Sherak took on the job of Los Angeles' first "film czar" last September, saying both his wife and his oncologist told him to move ahead with the position. For a salary of just $1, Sherak began working on a plan to increase the filming of movies and TV shows locally, in Hollywood.
Sherak started out at Paramount in 1970 as a distributor. He worked as head film buyer at General Cinema, then for 20th Century Fox in the 1980s. He rose through the ranks, first as President of Domestic Distribution and Marketing, then as Senior Executive Vice President of 20th Century Fox and finally as Chairman of 20th Century Fox Domestic Film Group.
Among the films he oversaw were Romancing The Stone, Wall Street, three Die Hard movies, the Star Wars trilogy special edition and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Edward Scissorhands, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, True Lies, Speed, Independence Day and more. Following his stint at 20th Century Fox, Sherak worked for Revolution Studios, releasing movies such as Black Hawk Down, RENT and more.
He also produced Relatively Speaking on Broadway in 2011, which featured three plays -- one by Ethan Coen, one by Elaine May and one by Woody Allen, all directed by John Turturro.
In 2009, Sherak was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where he had served as treasurer. He went on to serve for three years.