According to both TMZ and The Hollywood Reporter, Cates’s body was found Tuesday in a parking lot at UCLA, the university where he was once dean of the school of theater, film and television. Cates, also the uncle of actress Phoebe Cates, was 77. It is unclear what caused his death.
A spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said via e-mail that the academy is preparing a statement about Cates’s death.
Update: The Academy has just issued a statement about Cates’s passing, which says, in part:
“‘Gil was our colleague, our friend and a former governor of the Academy,’” said Academy President Tom Sherak. ‘He was a consummate professional who gave the Academy and the world some of the most memorable moments in Oscar® history. His passing is a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry, and our thoughts go out to his family.’”
In addition to his work on the Oscar telecasts (the last one he produced was the ceremony’s 80th in 2008 and was hosted by Jon Stewart), Cates also produced and directed numerous TV and theatrical movies, including 1970’s “I Never Sang for My Father” and 1980’s “Oh God! Book II.”