Steven Spielberg is heartbroken following the death of Sidney Sheinberg, the man who gave him his first directing job.
The former president of Universal Studios died at the age of 84 on Thursday (07Mar19).
Sheinberg is credited as being the person who discovered a young Spielberg, signing the three-time Oscar winner at the age of 20. They went on to forge one of the strongest partnerships in Hollywood.
Releasing a statement through his Amblin Entertainment production company, the 72-year-old director said he was having a hard time processing Sheinberg’s passing.
“My heart is broken at this news,” he stated. “For now, let me just say that Sid had a big personality and a tender heart. He was the tallest most stand up guy I ever knew. He gave birth to my career and made Universal my home. He gave me Jaws, I gave him ET and he gave me Schindler’s List. We were a team for 25 years and he was my dear friend for 50. I have no concept about how to accept that Sid is gone. For the rest of my life, I will owe him more than I can express.”
Spielberg won two Oscars for harrowing Holocaust drama Schindler’s List in 1994. The film, which starred Liam Neeson as war hero Oskar Schindler, bagged a further five Academy Awards.
A message was also posted on Amblin’s Twitter page following the news of Sheinberg’s death.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of Sid Sheinberg’s passing. Without Sid recognising the talent in a young man with a passionate dream of becoming a director, we wouldn’t have the astonishing career of Steven Spielberg as it is. Godspeed, Mr. Sheinberg,” the message read.
He is survived by his Jaws actress wife Lorraine Gary and their sons Jonathan and Bill Sheinberg.