As a prolific director and producer, Gilbert Cates largely became known to the public at large for producing 14 Academy Awards telecasts in an 18-year span, as well as for directing such feature films as "I Never Sang for My Father" (1970), "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams" (1973) and "Oh, God! Book II" (1980), and numerous TV movies and specials. But it was his long reign as a director and producer of the yearly Academy Awards program that cemented his legacy; a gig Cates began in 1990 and carried through for most broadcasts over the next two-plus decades. Cates began the stint at a time when the awards show's popularity was waning and was noted for shaking up the status quo by infusing new blood with hosts Billy Crystal, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman. Of course, some of his decisions - particularly Letterman and Goldberg - were widely criticized, but he nonetheless helped return the Oscars to prominence, and in the process, became the show's most successful producer and that behind-the-scenes rarity - a household name.