January 29, 2014 / 2:17 AM / 5 years ago

Former Academy of Motion Pictures president Tom Sherak dies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Tom Sherak, the former president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, died on Tuesday after a long struggle with prostate cancer, his family said in a statement. He was 68.

Tom Sherak, President of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, speaks to the audience at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

Sherak served as president of the Academy, which organizes Hollywood’s annual Oscars ceremony, from 2009 to 2012.

He died at home surrounded by his family after a 12-year cancer battle, said the statement, issued through the Academy.

“Tom lived his life as an open book. He opened his heart and let the world in, and anyone who was lucky enough to know him knew firsthand the power of his love. He gave everything he had to help others, regardless of whether or not he knew them,” Sherak’s family said.

Sherak was an executive with 20th Century Fox for 17 years, and until 2000 was chairman of the studio’s domestic film group, overseeing the distribution of such high-profile films as “Titanic,” “Alien” and “Die Hard.”

Sherak left Fox in 2000 to become a partner with former Disney film chairman Joe Roth in Revolution Studios, a startup film studio. Revolution shut its film division in 2007, but continues to produce TV programs, including “Are We There Yet” for TBS.

He had minor acting roles in a 2002 episode of TV series “NYPD Blue” and 2012’s “Columbus Circle” movie, according to film database IMDB.com. He also had executive producing credits on 2001’s “The One” and 2005 movie musical “Rent.”

In September 2013, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Sherak as the senior adviser and director of his newly formed Entertainment Industry and Production Office to help keep film production in Los Angeles after the city had been suffering declines due to incentives offered by foreign countries and other states. He was paid $1 a year for his position.

In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Garcetti said he was “devastated” at the news of Sherak’s death.

“Proud to have worked with him and lucky to have known this amazing man. Tom Sherak’s humor, drive, & universal appeal were truly unique. We last spoke on Fri, and his love of LA and filming were second to none,” the mayor said.

Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Mohammad Zargham

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