Eberts died Thursday from uveal melanoma, a rare eye cancer than had spread to his liver, his wife said.
Eberts was a struggling investment banker in 1974 when he was approached to handle the financing for 1978's "Watership Down," an animated feature about persecuted rabbits, the Los Angeles Times reported.
He was hooked on the film business and went on to form Goldcrest Films, which revived Britain's film industry in the 1980s, the Times said.
The filmmaker was responsible for financing or producing more than 50 films over four decades. Four of those films -- "Chariots of Fire," "Gandhi," "Driving Miss Daisy" and "Dances With Wolves" -- won a total of 23 Academy Awards, including Oscars for best picture.
"He was truly the gentleman of Hollywood," said Jim Berk, chief executive of Participant Media, which
produced 2009's "Oceans" with Eberts.
"Jake's purpose in life was to try to create content that not only tells stories but leads to social awareness and people inspired to do things that are beyond the norm," Berk said. "So he would look for that ... . He had that special touch finding those stories."
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