Distinguished producer Saul Zaentz began his entertainment industry career running his own record label, Fantasy Records, out of Berkeley during the 1960s. After signing such major groups as Creedence Clearwater Revival and making a substantial amount of money, Zaentz branched out into film production in 1975 with the critical and box-office smash One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. For this first effort, Zaentz, along with co-producer Michael Douglas, earned an Academy Award.
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Zaentz continued to focus on adapting literary works for the screen, and a number of his subsequent films did extremely well. His 1984 production of Amadeus won great acclaim and a Best Picture Oscar, acclaim that continued in 1988 with Zaentz's production of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which was nominated for two Oscars and won a British Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In 1996, Zaentz added to his enviable track record with The English Patient, which garnered an astounding 11 Oscar nominations and won nine in all, including Best Picture, Best Director for Anthony Minghella, Best Cinematography for John Seale, and Best Supporting Actress for Juliette Binoche. Zaentz partnered again with Amadeus director Milos Forman for 2006's Goya's Ghosts, the last film he produced before his death in 2014 at age 92. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi