Sy Weintraub (May 28, 1923 – April 4, 2000) was a movie and television producer best known for his series of Tarzan films and television episodes between 1959 and 1968. Weintraub broke with the Johnny Weissmuller formula of portraying Tarzan as a pidgin-speaking noble savage who lives in a treehouse with Jane and Boy. Instead, his Tarzan was an educated loner, much closer to Edgar Rice Burroughs's original conception of the character. Weintraub also produced two Sherlock Holmes films for television and was an owner of Panavision.
After World War II service in the US Army, he formed Flamingo Films with David L. Wolper, who acquired the television rights to Eagle-Lion Films in 1951. Starting in 1958, Weintraub took over the Tarzan franchise from Sol Lesser and began producing Tarzan films made on actual locations (most previous Tarzan films had been shot on studio sets, with stock jungle footage edited in). He decided to drop the character of Jane and portray Tarzan as a well-spoken lone adventurer. Weintraub started with Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959) and its follow-up, Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), both with Gordon Scott. Weintraub then produced Tarzan Goes to India and Tarzan's Three Challenges (filmed in Thailand), both with Jock Mahoney. In 1965 Weintraub filmed three Tarzan films back to back with former Los Angeles Rams football star Mike Henry: Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (Mexico), Tarzan and the Great River and Tarzan and the Jungle Boy both filmed in Brazil. When Henry was tired of his grueling Tarzan work and refused to do the television series, Weintraub hired Ron Ely for the role.
In 1965 Weintraub bought Panavision but sold it later. He was briefly, in 1967, the president of the CBS Television Network. Weintraub claimed to have discovered several starlets, including actress Goldie Hawn.
In 1982 Weintraub planned to co-produce six Sherlock Holmes films for television but only two, The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles, both with Ian Richardson, were produced in 1983. When Weintraub discovered that Granada Television had acquired the rights for their own series with Jeremy Brett, he was awarded damages in an out-of-court settlement.
In 1997, he unsuccessfully sued artist Hiro Yamagata, alleging the latter had reneged on a contract to produce art for Weintraub. After a trial in Santa Monica Superior Court, however, the jury sided with Yamagata. In that legal action, he was represented by attorney David Ganezer.
He had two daughters, Lori Weintraub, an attorney in Century City, and Cynthia Weintraub, a professor at Harvard University.
- McClintick, David Indecent Exposure: A True Story of Hollywood and Wall Street, ISBN 0-06-050815-9