Producer Jake Eberts, Whose Films Won 37 Oscars, Dead at 71

Jake Eberts produced four Best Picture Academy Award winners: "Gandhi," "Chariots of Fire," "Driving Miss Daisy" and "Dances With Wolves"

Jake Eberts, who produced and financed films that won 37 Oscars, died Thursday morning in Montreal, following a brief illness.

He was 71, according to the Montreal Gazette, which reported his death.

Getty ImagesEberts financed or produced more than 50 films, four of which earned Academy Awards for Best Picture: “Chariots of Fire,” “Gandhi,” "Driving Miss Daisy" and “Dances with Wolves.”  He also produced "The Killing Fields,” “The Dresser,” “Local Hero,” “A River Runs Through It,” “Chicken Run,” “The Illusionist” and “Grey Owl.”

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“He was an extraordinary film producer and an extraordinary man,” Montreal director Denys Arcand, a close friend of Eberts told the Gazette. “He took filmmaking seriously. He felt cinema should be used to better mankind. This is a lofty standard in an age where movies are being adapted from comic books. He had such noble ideals and morals.”

Eberts founded Goldcrest Films and, later, Allied Filmmakers, and served as chairman of National Geographic Films.

He became involved with movies at the age of 35, relatively late for a filmmaker. After earning an MBA from Harvard, he worked as an engineer and a diesel-engine salesman.

“People wouldn’t think of someone with a chemical engineering background to end up in the movie world,” Eberts wrote in “My Indecision Is Final,” his autobiographical study of the film business, “but life can take you down these wonderful paths.”

Eberts’ most recent project was the IMAX 3D documentary “Jerusalem,” slated for release in 2013. He was also developing a $60-million film project in China.

Eberts is survived by his wife, Fiona, his sons, Alex and Dave, and daughter, Lindsay.