Gil Cates

Gil Cates (Reuters)

WESTWOOD, Calif. -- Film, television and Broadway producer and director Gil Cates, who ran the show for 14 Oscar ceremonies and was an entertainment industry leader, has died at age 77.

Cates was found dead Monday evening in a parking structure at UCLA where he was the founding dean of the School of Theater, Film and Television, the school said in a statement posted on its website.

A cause of death has yet to be determined, pending an investigation by the Los Angeles County coroner.

Cates, who was the uncle of actress Phoebe Cates, was found in his car in one of UCLA's parking structures, according to media reports.

Emergency personnel tried to revive him but were unsuccessful, UCLA said.

"Today we mourn our great loss but also celebrate Gil's extraordinary vision and countless contributions, not only to TFT as founding dean and distinguished professor but to the entertainment and performing arts industries and the education of our students, who benefited from his remarkable talent, insights, generosity, experience and wisdom," said Teri Schwartz, dean of UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Cates was dean of UCLA's TFT from 1990-1998, and served two terms as president of the Directors Guild of America in the 1980s. He most recently produced the Academy Awards in 2008, marking his 14th time at the helm of the film industry's top honors for which he received several awards and nominations over the years.

Cates was born June 6, 1934 in New York City where he got his start producing and directing plays on and off Broadway. Some of his early stage work included "You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running," "I Never Sang for My Father," "Voices," and "Tricks of the Trade."

He moved his career to film in 1970 when he produced and directed the big screen version of "I Never Sang for My Father," which earned three Academy Award nominations.

Cates also directed Joanne Woodward and Sylvia Sidney in the 1973 film "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams," which received two Oscar nominations. Other film directing credits include: "The Promise," "One Summer Love," "The Last Married Couple in America," "Oh! God Book II" and "Backfire."

Cates also distinguished himself as the director and/or producer of a number of television specials, and he was a recognized leader in the industry across theater, film and TV.

He is only the third person to receive the Presidents Award from the Director's Guild of America, which represents film and TV directors in entertainment. In 2005, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Cates is survived by his wife, Dr. Judith Reichman, four children, two stepchildren and six grandchildren.