The former CEO of Dune Entertainment and Village Roadshow chief died today of cancer in Los Angeles. Greg Coote was 72. He was a key player in the emergence of the Australian film industry, starting in the mailroom at Aussie distributor Village Roadshow and working his way up to Managing Director. “Greg was a champion of Australian films from the early 1970s, and he continued being a great supporter of Australian filmmakers,” said Screen Producers Australia president Brian Rosen. After a stint at Ten Network during which its ratings soared, Coote relocated to LA as President of Columbia Pictures’ international division, where he oversaw worldwide distribution, acquisitions and marketing. He later became the founding President and CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures in Los Angeles, and the company helped finance films including The Matrix. Later, when Coote was Chairman and CEO of Dune Entertainment, the company co-financed dozens of movies including Avatar, which went on to be the top-grossing film in history.

Coote also chaired China Lion Film Distribution and ScreenSingapore; served as a non-executive director of Bollywood producer Eros International; partnered with Leon Tan in the Malaysian-based DragonSlate; and was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the advisory board of the Singapore Government’s Media Development Authority. He teamed with David Calvert-Jones to launch the Century City-based development and production company Larrikin Entertainment, working there until his death. A funeral is set for July 2 at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica.