Fred Weintraub, producer of Bruce Lee’s “Enter The Dragon,” died March 5 at his Pacific Palisades home due to natural causes related to Parkinson’s disease. He was 88.
Weintraub began his career in the entertainment business in the late 1950s when he started a jazz club in Cuba shortly before Fidel Castro came to power. In the early 1960s, he opened the Bitter End coffee house in Greenwich Village and booked such notables as Bob Dylan, Richard Pryor, Neil Diamond, Woody Allen, Frank Zappa, Lily Tomlin, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, George Carlin, Barbara Streisand, Joan Rivers, and Cheech and Chong.
The goateed and pony-tailed Weintraub hosted a live weekly television show, “Live At The Bitter End,” with his St. Bernard dog at his feet.
Weintraub became the VP of Creative Services at Warner Bros. in the late 1960s and served on the studio’s board of directors. He was involved with bringing Michael Wadleigh’s landmark documentary “Woodstock” to the studio.
Weintraub launched his own production company in 1972. His first independent film was Lee’s “Enter The Dragon,” which played a major role in popularizing martial arts and making Lee a superstar.
Weintraub produced over 40 films and television movies, including “Rage” with George C. Scott; “High Road to China” with Tom Selleck; “Battle Creek Brawl,” Jackie Chan’s first American film; and “Tom Horn,” starring Steve McQueen. He also produced “The New Adventures of Robin Hood” TV series.
In 2011, Weintraub published his memoir, “Bruce Lee, Woodstock and Me.” He is is survived by his widow, Jackie; four children, Sandra, Barbara, Max and Zachary; and four grandchildren.
(Pictured: Fred Weintraub with Michael Wadleigh)