Prominent entertainment attorney George Hedges died of cancer Tuesday in South Pasadena. He was 57.
Hedges was a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, where he represented the Producers Guild as well as production companies, TV networks, actors, directors and talent agencies. Also a noted archeologist, he led expeditions that discovered unknown archeological sites in Yemen in 1997 and helped discover the lost city of Ubar in Oman in 1992.
“George recognized the importance of what producers do; he believed in our cause and argued it passionately and victoriously. His ability to demystify the legal process and isolate the issues and values at hand was second to none,” said the PGA’s Marshall Herskovitz and Vance Van Petten.
Among the notable cases Hedges handled were the Producers Guild and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences’ dispute with producer Bob Yari over his eligibility for producer credit on Oscar winner “Crash.” He also repped agent Ed Limato in his case against International Creative Management, invoking the “seven year rule” to release Limato from his employment contract.
“He really saved my career,” said Limato. “He was a wonderful man and a great litigator.”
Among the other clients he represented were the Television Academy, Mel Gibson, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Simon Cowell, Robert Cort, Fox, CBS, CAA, UTA and Endeavor.
“He’s got a wide-angle-lens mind and sees all the parts and sees how it can come together,” said filmmaker David Lynch, whom he represented in a major pay-or-play case, on the firm’s website.
Hedges was proud of his pro bono representation of Adam Miranda, an inmate convicted of murder whose death sentence he fought to overturn for more than 20 years, obtaining a unanimous decision reversing the death sentence in 2008.
Born in Philadelphia, he earned a B.A. and M.A. in classical studies at the U. of Pennsylvania before graduating from USC Law School. After clerking for a judge, he joined Kaplan, Livingston, Goodwin, Berkowitz & Selvin as a litigator. He went on to form Hedges & Caldwell in 1988. He practiced there for 10 years before moving to Quinn Emanuel in 1998 to start the firm’s entertainment litigation practice.
He also experienced the entertainment business firsthand, founding the laserdisc company Discworks and the TV production company Thomas Road, which produced “Lost City of Arabia” for PBS’ “Nova.”
He is survived by his wife Christie and sons Shon, a film editor, and Duncan, a law student.
Donations may be made to the memorial fund at Polytechnic School at Polytechnic.org.