Oscar-Winning Producer Saul Zaentz Dies at 92
Legendary producer Saul Zaentz, who began his career as a music producer and transitioned into an Oscar-winning film producer, has passed away at the age of 92. Zaentz is perhaps best remembered for his feud with Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty, and for his three Oscar wins for producing the Best Picture winners ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ ‘Amadeus,’ and ‘The English Patient.’
According to THR, Zaentz passed away Friday, January 3, at the age of 92. His death has been confirmed by his nephew, Paul Zaentz, who is also a producer. Zaentz had been sadly struggling with complications due to Alzheimer’s disease in recent years.
Zaentz went from music producing to film producing, sharing the Oscars for Best Picture for producing the films ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ ‘Amadeus,’ and ‘The English Patient.’ In 1997, the Academy presented Zaentz with the Irving G. Thalberg award for “consistently high quality of motion picture production.”
Zaentz began his career as a music producer, working most notably with Creedence Clearwater Revival. He would later sue lead singer John Fogerty in an infamous lawsuit, contending that a song on the singer’s solo ‘Centerfield’ album, titled “Zanz Kant Danz,” was intended as a slight toward Zaentz. Fogerty changed the name of the song, but Zaentz also sued Fogerty for allegedly ripping himself off on another song, using a CCR chorus for one of his solo songs.
Though Zaentz struggled with Fogerty for years, he moved on admirably and into the world of film producing with ease — one of his biggest successes was ‘Amadeus,’ Milos Forman’s film about the dark struggles of a classical composer.