Sidney Sheinberg

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Sid Sheinberg
Born Sidney Jay Sheinberg
(1935-01-14) January 14, 1935 (age 83)
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California,
Corpus Christi, Texas
Alma mater Columbia University (B.A., J.D)
Occupation Lawyer, executive
Years active 1958 – present
Employer Universal Studios,
Revue Productions
Known for Discovering Steven Spielberg,
Helped make Jaws
Home town Corpus Christi, Texas
Board member of See Boards and Honors
Spouse(s) Lorraine Gary (m. 1956)
Children 2
Awards See Boards and Honors

Sidney Jay "Sid" Sheinberg (born January 14, 1935) is a lawyer and American entertainment executive. He is married to actress Lorraine Gary. Sheinberg is also known for discovering Steven Spielberg.

Early life and education

Sheinberg, the son of immigrants, a Ukrainian mother and a Polish father, grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas where he was born on January 14, 1935.[1] In 1955, Sheinberg graduated from Columbia University and subsequently, attended University of Texas School of Law. In 1956 he transferred to Columbia Law School where he obtained his law degree.[2]


In the summer of 1958, he arrived in California where he accepted a teaching position at UCLA School of Law. In 1959 while awaiting the results of his California Bar Examination, Sid joined the legal department of Revue Productions, the former television subsidiary of MCA, and began his career in the entertainment industry.[2]

In June 1973, Sheinberg was elected President and Chief Operating Officer of MCA, Inc. / Universal Studios and served alongside Lew Wasserman. Sheinberg is credited with discovering director Steven Spielberg and hiring him into the MCA/Universal Television division. Sheinberg served as President and COO of Universal Pictures (a division of MCA, Inc.)[3] with the highest-grossing films of the last three decades of the 20th Century all being Universal/Spielberg projects, beginning with 1975's Jaws, 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and concluding with 1993's Jurassic Park. Other high-performing films credited to him are Schindler's List (1993) and Back to the Future (1985). [4]

Boards and Honors

Sheinberg serves on the National Board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Pitzer College (one of the Claremont group of colleges), the Board of The American Jewish Committee, the Board of Research To Prevent Blindness and the Board of Trustees of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is Vice Chairman of Human Rights Watch[5] and is co-founder of the Children's Action Network. He has been honored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for his life's work in civil rights and inclusive support of the LGBT community.[6][7]

He received Columbia College's John Jay Award in 1981 for distinguished professional achievement, the American Jewish Committees Human Relations Award in 1982, the National Conference of Christians and Jews Humanitarian Award in 1983, and Pioneer Of The Year Award in 1984 from the Motion Picture Pioneers, as well as the Chevalier De L'Ordre Des Arts et Des Lettres in 1984 bestowed by the French government.

In 1987, he received the DeWitt Carter Reddick Award at the University of Texas in Austin, and in 1989 he was named a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Directors Guild of America for his decades of service on the DGA-AMPTP Creative Rights Committee. He received the AIDS Project Los Angeles Commitment to Life Award in 1991, the Medal of Honor from the American Academy of Achievement in 1994 and the GLADD Award in 1996.

The Sheinbergs jointly received the 1995 Simon Wiesenthal Center's Humanitarian Award.[8]

Sheinberg Place (a street on the Universal Studios lot in Los Angeles), was dedicated in his honor February 4, 2008, at a ceremony honoring the former studio chief. David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg were among those attending.[9]


Sheinberg was a central figure for the plaintiff in a 1983 lawsuit brought by Universal City Studios, Inc. against Nintendo Co., Ltd. According to Nintendo's attorney Howard Lincoln (later Chairman of Nintendo of America), Sheinberg was attempting to extort money from Nintendo and several other game companies by asserting a copyright that Universal did not own and had already argued as such in a previous case.

US District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled in Nintendo's favor, ordered Universal to pay Nintendo's expenses in the amount of $1.8 million. This decision was upheld twice on appeal.

The conversations between Sid Sheinberg, Howard Lincoln, and other relevant parties are detailed quite extensively in David Sheff's book Game Over.

Personal life

Sheinberg has been married to actress Lorraine Gary since 1956. They have two sons, Bill and Jonathan Sheinberg, both of whom work as film producers.


  1. Bernard F. Dick (1997). City of dreams: the making and remaking of Universal Pictures. University Press of Kentucky. p. 173. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 City of Dreams, page 173
  3. "MCA paid its president about $4.5 million in 1985". LA Times. March 26, 1986. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  4. Sue Vander Hook (2010). Steven Spielberg: Groundbreaking Director. ABDO Group. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  5. Cieply, Michael (April 10, 2011). "It Came Out of the Viral Media Swamp". Media Decoder. The NY Times. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  6. "No on Prop 8 Ad HIts California Airwaves". The Bilerico Project. September 22, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  7. "Los Angeles Leadership Awards 2008". National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. September 22, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  8. "Humanitarian: Sheinbergs to Receive Award Sunday". LA Times. January 12, 1995. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  9. "Steven Spielberg's mentor has street named for him". The Economic Times. February 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 

External links