Gary Abrahams

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Eden Memorial Park Light Chapel in Mission Hills for Gary Abrahams, 48, a primary force behind the American Cinematheque and Filmex, who died Thursday in Los Angeles of complications from AIDS.

With his partner Gary Essert, Abrahams was instrumental in founding the Los Angeles Intl.

Film Exposition in 1971 and the American Cinematheque in 1983. He served in various capacities publicly and behind the scenes for both organizations, scouting films all over the world, creating programs, raising funds and working as director of development and marketing.

Filmex became, during its years in Century City from the mid-1970s onward, a major international film event. In recent years, Essert and Abrahams have been programming monthly events at the Directors Guild Theater while trying to establish a permanent home for the American Cinematheque.

A native of Cleveland and a graduate of the U. of Arizona, Abrahams moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960s. He worked in development for Paramount Television and subsequently was director of corporate relations and merchandising for Marble Arch Prods.

He helped produce the four-hour documentary “The Movies,” about the history of American films, that was broadcast on ABC-TV in 1975. In 1982-83, he was VP of cable programming for Interscope Communications.

Essert was his longtime companion and colleague. Abrahams also is survived by his parents and brother.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to AMFAR or the American Cinematheque.

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