The last of the powerful Hollywood moguls who rewrote the industry's rules.
He was a theatre usher while in high school, and from there went to join the Music Corporation of America, eventually rising to head the MCA.
He ended the standard star system, under which actors were under contract to movie studios.
He grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, his parents immigrants from Russia who were struggling to run their family restaurant.
He was a longtime friend of actor Ronald Reagan, and he helped the B-movie actor secure the industry's first $1 million contract.