Tom Pollock Remembered: Universal Pictures Chairman ‘Didn’t Believe in Playing it Safe’

  • Variety
Tom Pollock Remembered: Universal Pictures Chairman ‘Didn’t Believe in Playing it Safe’
Tom Pollock, the former Universal Pictures chairman who died Aug. 1 at the age of 77, had a shrewd eye for business. Even before he took the reins at the studio in 1986 to embark on a decade-long run, Pollock had established himself as one of the savviest dealmakers in the entertainment industry. As a lawyer, he had negotiated deals for the “Superman,” “Indiana Jones,” and “Star Wars” franchises. In the latter case, Pollock made George Lucas not simply rich, but Midas-level wealthy by giving him the rights to make sequels and profit off of merchandising related to a galaxy far, far away.

“From a studio standpoint, it was one of the major mistakes of all time,” Pollock said in a 1997 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It essentially took a billion dollars away from the studio and transferred it to George.”

And yet, friends and colleagues say, what really drove Pollock was
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