Longtime Hollywood mover-and-shaker, former Montecito resident, and onetime UC Santa Barbara film studies instructor Tom Pollock died Saturday at age 77.
Pollock, who cofounded the Montecito Picture Company along with film director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters), started out his Hollywood career as an attorney. As such, he most famously helped director George Lucas negotiate merchandising and sequel rights to all Star Wars sequels and action figures, one of the greatest cinematic money-making deals of all time.
Over the years, Pollock would serve as executive vice president of MCA and chair of Universal Pictures and the American Film Institute. He would work with the likes of film director Spike Lee, who credits Pollock for greenlighting the production of Do the Right Thing, Lee’s groundbreaking film about racial violence. He would also work with Steven Spielberg in the making of Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List.
Pollock, who would later move to Malibu, had his hands in the Back to the Future sequels, Field of Dreams, The Flintstones, Apollo 13, Kindergarten Cop, and Casino. Later with the Montecito Picture Company, he produced such films as Old School, Disturbia, Baywatch, Up in the Air, Ghostbusters (2016), and I Love You, Man.
At UCSB, he taught a class on how films came to be made, titled What Were They Thinking? UCSB’s state-of-the-art Pollock Theater was built courtesy of Pollock’s father, Joseph Pollock, but the plaque inside celebrates all members of the Pollock family.