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Lorimar Television co-founder Merv Adelson passes away

MUMBAI: Lorimar Television co-founder and TV mogul Merv Adelson passed away at the age of 85.

Adelson was known to have produced some of TV’s greatest hits of the 1980s. He founded the TV production company Lorimar in 1969 with Irwin Molasky and Lee Rich.

The company delivered several hit TV shows like ‘Full House’, ‘Eight is Enough’, ‘The Waltons’, ‘Alf’, ‘Knots Landing’ and ‘Love Connection’.

Lorimar then merged with Telepictures in 1986 prior to being sold to Warner Bros in 1989. Adelson stayed on at Warner till 1991.

Lorimar expanded into film production by the late 1970s and released popular films like ‘Being There’ and ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’. But the box office failures took a financial toll on the company and by 1986, Lorimar merged with Telepictures.

By 1988, Lorimar Telepictures was facing more financial trouble, due to further failures at the box office and a financial scandal in involving corruption and fraudulent reporting in the company’s home video division, states Variety.

Warner Communications chief Steven Ross then proposed a $1.2 billion merger.After selling the company, Adelson was named vice chairman of Warner Bros. At the same time, he launched a new firm, East-West Capital Associates, with a $56 million investment from Warner Bros.

Within a year, Warner Communications had a mega merger with Time Inc. Adelson left the studio in 1991. Amid all of this, Adelson was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer.

Born in Los Angeles in 1929, Adelson moved to Las Vegas where he became a millionaire while still in his 20s, after opening a then-novel 24-hour grocery store, states the Deadline.

He dabbled in various fields like real estate development that increased his fortunes. Adelson returned to Los Angeles in the 1960s and directed his wealth into the entertainment industry, joining Irwin Molasky and producer Lee Rich to found Lorimar in 1969.

Adelson married Barbara Walters in 1981, and they divorced three years later only to marry back in 1986 for six more years. He later married attorney Thea Nesis, with whom he adopted two daughters.

Variety mentions that he was once one of the most powerful independent moguls in Hollywood, but in later years lost his fortune on bad bets during the early dot-com era and in the meltdown that followed the merger of AOL and Time Warner.

He declared bankruptcy in 2003 and spent his final years living modestly in Santa Monica. Among his last ventures was a music and home video project JammX Kids, designed to battle obesity among children by encouraging them to dance.