Anna Gross, a film executive and producer who worked on films such as “The NeverEnding Story” and “Tootsie,” died of cancer on July 23. She was 68.
Gross’ cousin, Mikie Heilbrun, confirmed her death to Variety. “Everyone’s life she touched she enriched,” Heilbrun wrote in an email. “She made them better more full beings and forever changed them.”
Gross began her career in film in the 1970s with an 8-year stint working for famed Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis, during which she worked on 14 films, including “Death Wish” (1974), “Three Days of the Condor” (1975), “The Shootist” (1976), “King Kong” (1976) and “Ragtime” (1981). Gross then became vice president of production for director Sydney Pollack, working to develop his films “The Electric Horseman” (1979), “Tootsie” (1982) and “Out of Africa” (1985).
Throughout the 1980s, Gross spent time in Germany working with producer Bernd Eichinger, where she oversaw the production on “The NeverEnding Story” (1984), “The Name of the Rose” (1986) and “Last Exit to Brooklyn” (1989). She then returned to Los Angeles, and established Constantin Film’s local operation.
In the ’90s, Gross became VP of production for Italian producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori and was the key executive for Oscar winners and nominees, including “Mediterraneo” (1991), “The Starmaker” (1995) and “Il Postino” (1994). Gross handled U.S. distribution for these films and oversaw their Oscar campaigns, which led to Gross beginning her own business dedicated to running Oscar campaigns for foreign films. In total, Gross handled the campaigns for 11 Oscar-nominated films.
In addition, Gross was a founding board member of the nonprofit organization FilmAid International, and was the director and corporate secretary for Hypomania Content.
Gross is also survived by two nieces and three nephews.