Hollywood tycoon Eric Pleskow dies at 95

Vienna (AFP) –


Hollywood tycoon Eric Pleskow, associated with films such as "The Silence of the Lambs", "Platoon" and "Amadeus", died Tuesday aged 95, the Vienna International Film Festival said.

Austrian-born Pleskow was behind numerous Oscar-winning films as president of the film company United Artists from 1973 to 1978 and then as co-founder of Orion Pictures.

These included "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Rocky", "Amadeus", "Platoon", "Dances with Wolves" and "The Silence of the Lambs".

Through him, actors such as Sylvester Stallone made their debut.

Pleskow also worked with famous producers, such as Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Francis Ford Coppola, Federico Fellini and Martin Scorsese.

Pleskow had been president of the Vienna International Film Festival, or Viennale, since 1998. He received honorary citizenship from Vienna in 2007.

"His death is a great loss for all of us... he has always carried us with his humor and foresight," the festival said in a statement.

Pleskow was born in Vienna into a Jewish family in 1924, but fled with his family before the outbreak of World War II via France to the United States.

He studied engineering but then worked himself up through the ranks in the film industry.

"First I brought coffee, then I started as an editor, cutting films," he once said in an interview, according to the Austrian news agency APA.