Thomas Philip Pollock was born to a Jewish family on April 10, 1943 in Los Angeles, CA, the son of Helene (nee Zalk) and Dr. Joseph Pollock. He has two siblings: Ken Pollock and Margo Pollock Sinclair. He attended The Happy Valley School, now named Besant Hill School, in Ojai, CA. Pollock graduated with a B.A. with distinction from Stanford University in 1964. He went on to the Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar, served as Editor of the Law Review and received a J.D. in 1967.
Tom Pollock started his career in 1968 as an assistant to George Stevens, founding director of The American Film Institute (AFI). In 1969, Pollock became manager of business affairs for AFI's new film school Center for Advanced Film Studies. 1970, he started the entertainment law firm Pollock, Rigrod, and Bloom which later became Pollock, Bloom and Dekom, now Bloom Hergott. Having started the firm with no established clients, Pollock recruited film students from both AFI and elsewhere. Among his first clients was George Lucas. At the time, Lucas was doing THX-1138 followed by American Graffiti and then Star Wars. In addition to The Star Wars trilogy Pollock was instrumental in initiating the productions of The Indiana Jones and Superman trilogies. By the 1980s Pollock, Bloom and Dekom was one of the premier entertainment firms in Los Angeles.
In 1986, Pollock left his firm to serve as Executive Vice President of MCA and Chairman of its Motion Picture Group, Universal Pictures. During his tenure as Chairman of the Motion Picture Group, Universal released over 200 films that grossed in excess of $10 billion worldwide including Jurassic Park the then highest-grossing film of all times, the Back to the Future trilogy, Henry and June, Cape Fear, Sneakers and Casino. While Pollock was at the helm of Universal, the studio had seven Academy Award Best Picture Nominations. Schindler's List, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1993. More Best Picture nominees include Field of Dreams, Born on the Fourth of July, Scent of a Woman, In the Name of the Father, Apollo 13 and Babe. Pollock was responsible for bringing numerous creative talents to the studio including Ron Howard, Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment, Ivan Reitman, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, George Miller, Jon Avnet, Rob Cohen, Phil Alden Robinson, Jim Sheridan, Larry Gordon and James Cameron.
Pollock was a member of the Board of Directors of MCA INC. and its affiliate Cineplex- Odeon Corporation. Pollock played a key role in the creation of United Cinemas International (UCI), a joint venture with Paramount Pictures, which has become the largest exhibitor outside North America, with nearly 700 multiplex screens. He also formed Gramercy Pictures now known as Focus Features with Polygram in 1992. During his tenure as Vice Chairman, Pollock forged MCA’s alliance with DreamWorks SKG and the interactive arcade venture Gameworks among Sega, Dreamworks and MCA.
In 1995, following the sale of MCA to the Seagram Co, Pollock became Vice Chairman of MCA/Universal Studios. He resigned from this position in 1996, after serving as the entertainment company's top film executive for nine years. Following his resignation, Pollock taught in the Film Studies Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. In 1986, Pollock returned to AFI as a member of its Board of Trustees. He became chairman in 1996. During his tenure, AFI produced its One Hundred Greatest Movies T.V. show and started the American Film Institute Awards. He now serves as Vice Chairman of the AFI Board of Directors.
In 1998 Pollock together with Director/Producer Ivan Reitman founded The Montecito Picture Company, which has produced among others, Road Trip (2000), Old School (2003), Disturbia (2007), the Academy Award Best Picture Nominee Up in the Air (2009), Chloe (2010), No Strings Attached (2011) and Hitchcock (2012). They recently finished production and released the major motion picture Draft Day starring Academy Award winner Kevin Costner as the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Ellen Burstyn and Chadwick Boseman. In 2006, Pollock together with Director/Producer Ivan Reitman, created Cold Spring Pictures with Merrill Lynch and other financial partners, which co-finances pictures produced by The Montecito Picture Company.
Pollock lives in Malibu, California. He has three children: Alexandra Pollock Gagerman, Allegra Pollock Brandano, and Luke Pollock. He also has four grandchildren: Haley, Benjamin, Owen, and Amelia.