Jay Weston, a veteran producer of Hollywood films including 1972’s “Lady Sings the Blues” starring Diana Ross and 1968’s “For Love of Ivy” starring Sidney Poitier, has died at the age of 93.
Weston, who also built a respected career as a restaurant critic, died at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California.
Weston’s most notable producing efforts likely came on “Lady Sings the Blues,” which was nominated for five Academy Awards. Other features included “Buddy Buddy” (notable for being Billy Wilder’s final film), “Chu Chu and the Philly Flash” and “W.C. Fields and Me.”
Weston was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 9, 1929, to Phillip and Shirley Weinstein. He went to NYU as a pre-med student, but soon switched to an arts curriculum. After earning a BA, he began a career in publicity before being drafted and sent to Korea in 1952. There he started a newspaper, The Hialean, which won the Army Commendation Medal as the best newspaper in Korea.
After discharge, he came back to New York and started a publicity firm representing many young stars, including Paul Anka, and then became public relations counsel for Cinerama Inc., where he worked for a decade.
When Weston moved to California in 1971 he actively started producing films.
Weston was eventually named head of ABC’s feature film division, Palomar Pictures, in 1967, for which his first project was “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” The following year he produced the Broadway play “Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?” in which a young Al Pacino appeared.
In the early 1980s, Weston discovered a Chinese restaurant that he loved so much that he wrote to 100 of his friends recommending it. Weston later founded a monthly newsletter reviewing restaurants, which became an extremely popular and well-read publication that he published until 2022.
Jay is survived by his ex-wife, Annabelle Weston Shulman; his daughter, Teresa Kraegel (Bill) and grandchildren, Connor and Caroline; sister, Ann Sowers and nephews Greg and Eric Gantwarg.