Tom Sherak, a man who withheld many important film industry roles but is best known for his presidency of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, died on Tuesday in his home in Calabasas, California at the age of 68. His passing was the result of a longtime battle with prostate cancer.
Sherak was known to be a dedicated and loyal worker to all of those who knew him. Last year Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti deemed Sherak as the “film czar” of LA. It was then Tom’s mission to bring the filmmaking process back to Hollywood and keep Los Angeles as the film capital of the world.
What he is best known for, however, would be his tireless attempt to bring back ratings to the Oscar award ceremony. He served as the Academy president from 2009 to 2012, and he found a few ways in which to tweak the awards system. His first minor change was the expansion of the number films nominated for best picture from 5 to 10 which would leave room for box office hits that would ultimately draw in more viewers due to their popularity. The other major effort he took part in was the transition of electronic Oscar voting. This made it faster and more efficient for the voters of the Academy from all over the globe to submit their selections. Diversification became anther focus point during his years as president as he attempted to recruit more people of color and younger voters onto the Academy.
Sherak was born in Brooklyn, New York. His successful career started with Paramount in 1970, but he spent 17 years at 20th Century Fox as the executive and also was chairman of the Twentieth Century Fox Domestic Film Group. His longtime efforts in such a make-or-break industry will always be highly regarded as the career field evolves.