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Oscar producer Gil Cates dies at 77

Gil Cates - Mister Oscar! - has died. He was 77, and the obits are  just coming in now, but it appears to have been a heart attack. Cates was one of the great and colorful figures of the business who ran the biggest show on earth - the Oscars - over many years. I count at least ten ceremonies but it very well may have been more. Cates, in fact, brought Letterman to the Oscars; I always thought that was one of the most memorable, even though Letterman thought it was an unmitigated disaster. Cates was just an engaging, funny, creative person. (I briefly knew him via a couple of interviews over the years.) 

Here's the statement from Motion Picture Academy chief, Tom Sherak: “Gil was our colleague, our friend and a former governor of the Academy. 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.”

[By the way, don't you just love the way the Academy pops the trademark logo on "Oscar" even in an obit statement!? I think Cates would get a huge laugh out of that too.]  

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