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Subject: Former Oscars president Tom Sherak dies

Written By: Philip Eno on 01/29/14 at 12:07 pm

Hollywood has been paying tribute to producer Tom Sherak, former president of the Academy of Motion Pictures, following his death aged 68.

Sherak's family confirmed he died at home on Tuesday after suffering from prostate cancer for 12 years.

He oversaw hits such as Titanic, Alien and Die Hard during 17 years at 20th Century Fox and led the Oscars organisation from 2009-2012.

The Academy said it was "deeply saddened" by Sherak's passing.

The movie executive was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame just hours before his death, but was unable to attend the ceremony.

He served three terms on the Board of Governors, from August 2003 until July 2012, with the last three as president.

Sherak was credited with renewing the public's interest in the Oscars ceremony, and extended the best picture category, making more room for box office hits.

He was responsible for completing a deal for the academy's new film museum with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which is set to open in 2017.

"Tom is a true hero in our lives who has a star on the sidewalk and wings to fly,'' said the Sherak family in a statement released by the academy and addressed "to the entertainment community".

They hailed him as a "loving husband, daddy, papa, brother, friend, and 'go to guy'."

The Academy's chief executive Dawn Hudson called him "my mentor and my friend".

"I learned from him, I laughed with him, and I couldn't be more grateful for the time we shared together.

"He had a huge influence on the direction of our Academy and on me personally," said Hudson.

Current president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said: "In the more than 30 years I've known Tom, his passionate support of and excitement about the motion picture business, the Academy, his family and friends never wavered."

Sherak was chairman of 20th Century Fox's domestic film group until 2000, working on high profile blockbusters such as Wall Street, Independence Day and Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace.

He went on to become a partner with former Disney film chairman Joe Roth in Revolution Studios.

In September last year Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed him as the city's first 'film czar', acting as a liaison between California's lawmakers and the entertainment industry.

He was paid $1 million (£600,000) a year for the position, which was set up in a bid to reverse the decline in film production in the city due to incentives offered by foreign countries and other states.

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