Jay Weston

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Jay Weston
BornBrooklyn, New York
Spouse(s)Ann Weston Begelman
(m. 19??–19??)

Jay Weston is an American film producer and restaurant critic. He is known for producing Billy Wilder's final comedy, Buddy Buddy, and the Academy Award-nominated "Lady Sing The Blues," as well as for his popular restaurant newsletter that focuses on the Los Angeles dining scene. He is a regular contributor to the HuffingtonPost/Los Angeles blog.[1]

Early life[edit]

Weston grew up in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York.[2] Weston graduated from New York University in 1949. While serving in the army during the Korean War, he was editor of a military newspaper, The Hialean, that received numerous prestigious recognitions, including three Army Commendation Medals.[3]

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Before working in film, Weston worked as a newspaper columnist and as a public relations executive.[4] His first entertainment job was as a Broadway press agent.[3]

When he returned to New York from the war in 1953, he started his career in public relations, in which he founded one of the largest PR firms in the country at that time. He also played a prominent role in Cinerama Inc., the company that created the Cinerama widescreen film process. Weston worked at Cinerama for a decade.[3]

Film & Theater[edit]

His years at Cinerama gave Weston a deeper love and appreciation for film, which led him to write The War Horses, a screenplay that was subsequently purchased by film producer Joseph E. Levine, a story about how the Boer War of Afrinca was won by the British by remounting their cavalry on American cow ponies. It was to star Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and John Wayne. Although the script was never produced, Weston's passion for film continued and he went on to create his own independent production company.[3]

Weston became head of ABC's feature film division, Palomar Pictures, in 1967, where his first project became They Shoot Horses, Don't They? The film went on to be nominated for eight Academy Awards and win one. Weston then co-produced For Love of Ivy, the first major studio production to star two black actors (Sidney Poitier and Abbey Lincoln).[3]

In 1968, Weston returned to New York to produce the Broadway play Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, which launched the career of a then-unknown Al Pacino.[3] The actor went on to win a Tony Award for his performance, even though the play ran for only 39 performances.[5]

Probably his most well-known and acclaimed film, Lady Sings the Blues came in 1972. Starring Diana Ross in her acting debut, the film was a biographical film about jazz singer Billie Holiday and went on to be nominated for five Academy Awards.[3] Weston had originally offered the role to Abbey Lincoln, but she declined.[6]

Weston sued Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1979 about the rights to a film, and years later, it was revealed that Weston was "totally ostracized" by the agency.[7]

Restaurant Critic[edit]

Weston's love of food led him to found Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter, which has been available by subscription through the mail since the early 1980s. Weston counts many notable Hollywood names as subscribers.[4] His opinion on restaurants has been sought by numerous reputable publications, including The New York Times.[1] For the past three years he has been writing two or three columns a week for the Huffington Post's Los Angeles division. Ranging far from restaurants, he has covered opera, movies, books, politics and architecture.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Production
1968 For Love of Ivy
1972 Lady Sings the Blues
1976 W.C. Fields and Me
1980 Night of the Juggler
1981 Underground Aces
1981 Chu Chu and the Philly Flash
1981 Buddy Buddy
1990 Side Out

Television[edit]

Year Production Notes
1987 Laguna Heat television film
1999 Invisible Child television film

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Purdum, Todd S. (October 24, 1997). "Los Angeles Journal; A Sushi Bar Brings Hollywood to Its Knees". New York Times. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  2. ^ Huffington Post: "LACMA Opening Resnick Pavilion!" by Jay Weston July 30, 2010
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Sideout". Sony Pictures. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Finke, Nikki (November 5, 1987). "Producer's Gossipy Film-Industry Guide to Fine Dining Is Elitist Hit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  5. ^ Yule, A. (1992). Al Pacino: Life on the Wire. Time Warner Paperbacks. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ "Letter to the editor". New York Times. March 17, 2002. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  7. ^ Michael Cieply. "Inside the Agency : How Hollywood works: Creative Artists Agency and the men who run it", latimes.com, 2 July 1989. Retrieved 24 April 2017.

External links[edit]