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Former Hollywood studios chief John Calley dies

(Xinhua)

11:04, September 14, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- John Calley, a longtime Hollywood executive who led three major studios and produced or championed such blockbuster films including "Catch-22" and "Da Vinci Code," died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

"John Calley will be remembered in the history of Hollywood as an extraordinary studio chief, who ran three studios with a maximum of taste and a minimum of tyranny," Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Sony Corporation Howard Stringer said in a statement. "Even today, the quality of his movies still have contemporary resonance."

Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal said Calley had "a steely business mind and the soul of an artist."

A memorial is slated to be held on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City near Los Angeles, Sony said.

Calley, who was born in Jersey city, N.J., landed the job of producing an adaptation of Joseph Heller's black humor novel " Catch-22" after he launched his Hollywood career in the mail room at NBC at age 21. Later, Calley served as production chief of Warner Bros. and president and vice chairman, working on movies including "The Exorcist," "A clockwork Orange," "All the President 's Men" and "Superman."

Calley was named president and chief operating officer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists in 1993 before moving to Sony three years later. He was responsible for producing such box office hits including "Men in Black" and "Spider-Man."

He also produced blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code," a 2006 American mystery thriller film which stars Tom Hanks, and its 2009 sequel, "Angels and Demons."

He was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in 2009 with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, in recognition of his "intellectual rigor, sophisticated artistic sensibilities and calm, understated manner."

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