Andreas “Andy” Albeck, former chairman and CEO of United Artists, died of heart failure Sept. 29 in New York. He was 89.
Albeck spent more than 30 years at UA working with such filmmakers as Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and impacted pics like “Raging Bull” and “Rocky.”
He began his showbiz career in 1939 as a sales rep for Columbia Pictures in Indonesia. More than a decade later, he joined Eagle Lion in New York as assistant foreign sales manager and in 1951 transitioned into operations at UA after its purchase of Eagle Lion.
During his tenure at UA Albeck served as prexy of UA Broadcasting, senior veep of operations, and after almost 30 years with the company in 1978 was named president and CEO. His time as CEO and later, board chair, was documented in Steven Bach’s best-selling book “Final Cut,” which focused on the challenges surrounding the making of Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate.”
As a result of his relationship with helmers like Allen he appeared in “Stardust Memories” as a studio head based on himself. A Vanity Fair article described the negative speculation surrounding “Raging Bull.” Following the first screening, when the aud was silent, Aalbeck went up to director Scorsese and shook his hand saying, “Mr. Scorsese, you are an artist.”
In a 1992 report Variety said, “Albeck is remembered as a benign and wise leader — he was first to identify Japan as the movie industry’s chief future funder — but he is criticized by some as being too European for a changing Hollywood.”
After retiring from showbiz Albeck took up Christmas tree farming in Lafeyette, N.J.
Survivors include his wife, Lotte; a son and a daughter; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren.