Warner Bros. Intl. TV exec Michel Lecourt died Feb. 8 in Paris after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 58.
Lecourt founded the company’s French operation nearly four decades ago, and continued as VP and general manager for French-speaking territories.
“Michel was a unique individual: a French citizen with a love of the American Old West and cowboy lifestyle; a European who always drove a big American car through the streets of Paris; and a true fan and expert on American cinema and animation with a special passion for the Looney Tunes,” said Warner Bros. Intl. TV prexy Jeffrey Schlesinger.
Lecourt began working for Warners at age 18 while studying cinema at the French Independent Conservatory in Paris. He was the assistant to Richard Wilkes then WB’s sales agent in Paris.
Lecourt soon was tapped to establish WB’s TV business in France. Beginning his career when European TV was still broadcast in black-and-white and France’s second network had been in existence for just three years, Lecourt managed Warners’ TV business through the addition of five more broadcast networks, privatization of the industry, the dawn of cable and satellite and the advent of homevideo and the Internet.
Lecourt created and developed the locally hosted classic animation block known as the Warner Hour, which served as the prototype for a format the company went on to roll out in various territories throughout the world.
His passion for animation was rewarded with French Emmy Awards in 1991, for the Warner Hour’s “Decode Pas Bunny” on Canal Plus, and in 2004, for “Ca Cartoon” on Canal Plus.
Lecourt is survived by his wife, Natalie, and two daughters.