By Tim Molloy
Rich, who was also the former chairman and chief executive of MGM/UA Communications, said he considered his greatest accomplishment to be co-founding Lorimar, which produced the shows. It went on to produce “Family Matters,” “Full House” and “Perfect Strangers,” among other series.
Rich started in television at the advertising agency Benton & Bowles, where he helped package and sell both “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Danny Thomas Show.” In 1965 he left to start his own production company, Mirisch-Rich Productions, which produced such shows as “The Rat Patrol” and one of the first Garry Marshall/Jerry Belson shows, “Hey, Landlord.”
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He co-founded Lorimar in 1969, which also produced television movies including “Sybil” and “Helter Skelter.” He talked about the company’s early days in a 1999 interview for the Archive of American Television.
Gesturing toward his wife, he said, “She and I took it from the beginning and built it to… the largest supplier of network television that there was, just for a little independent company.”
He said he saw it as a place where creative people could be happy. “That gave me a great deal of joy,” he said.
He was nominated for five Emmys and won for producing “The Waltons” in 1973.
Rich left Lorimar in 1986 and presided over MGM-UA from then until to 1988. He later produced films including “Passenger 57” and “The Score.”
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