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Legendary television producer Lee Rich has died at the age of 93. Rich was behind some of the most popular shows of the 1970s and 1980s, including Dallas, Knots Landing and The Waltons and Eight is Enough. Rich also produced several important films.
Rich died on Thursday at his Los Angeles home after battling lung cancer.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rich co-found the Lorimar production company with Merv Adelson. Rich worked as executive producer on over 1,600 episodes of the 33 series that the company produced, which included Dallas, The Waltons, Flamingo Road and King’s Crossing. Rich left when the company merged with Telepictures, notes Deadline.
Rich also produced several major made-for-TV films and miniseries, such as 1973’s The Blue Knight, which earned William Holden an Emmy, and Sybil, which earned Sally Field a 1977 Emmy.
He also produced several important films, such as Richard Gere’s An Officer and a Gentleman. He went on to become the CEO of MGM/UA from 1986 to 1988, overseeing the productions films like A Fish Called Wanda, Moonstruck and the Best Picture Oscar-winner Rain Man. Among his more recent productions is the 2001 Robert De Niro film The Score. He also has a film still in development at Warner Bros. titled Replay.
Several of his colleagues have released statements paying tribute. "In my career, which spans 50 years, he singularly is one of the most unforgettable people I've ever met," former network executive Fred Silverman told the Los Angeles Times.
“Lee’s passion for television, his business acumen and his love of the creative process made him an extraordinary mentor for all of us who had the good fortune to work for him,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group, in a statement. “Lee was a creative force who established the gold standard for independent production companies, and the Lorimar/Warner Bros. merger was transformational for Warner Bros. Television.”