Showbiz vet ran business affairs at Warner Bros.
Funeral services will be held at noon Monday for former entertainment executive Art Stolnitz. The services will be at Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive, in Los Angeles. A reception will follow services at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.
Stolnitz died Wednesday at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., from complications of a stroke. He was 79.
He enjoyed a 45-year career in showbiz, spending more than 30 of those years at Warner Bros. He joined the company in 1977 and held a number of positions in business affairs at both Warner Bros. Television and Lorimar Television, ultimately serving as executive vice president, business affairs, Warner Bros. TV.
He retired in 1996 and continued to serve as a consultant to the studio until June 1998. During his tenure, he was the studio’s chief business affairs executive on the series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Murphy Brown,” “China Beach,” “Night Court,” and many others.
Rochester, N.Y., native studied at the U. of Missouri and earned his law degree from the U. of Tennessee College of Law in 1952. For more than 50 years, he remained deeply committed to the College of Law. Besides donations, he served on the university’s Development Council, as well as the school’s Theater National Advisory Board and the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. In 2001, its law libraryclinic was renamed the Art Stolnitz Legal Clinic Library.
He began his showbiz career at the William Morris Agency After working for six years in the agency’s legal department, he branched into creative areas of both film and television production.
At ZIV-UA Television, he was director of new program development, and from there, he became a literary agent for MCA. From 1963 to 1970, he was involved with seven television series and six theatrical motion pictures at Selmur Prods. and several more theatrical features at ABC Pictures, both wholly owned divisions of ABC.
Stolnitz was then appointed executive vice president at Metromedia Producers Corp., where he served for four years before becoming a producer as well as executive vice president at Charles Fries Prods., where he was involved in all aspects of the company’s activities. He was a producer for Edgar J. Scherick Prods. and went on to produce the NBC primetime series “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams” for Sunn Classic Pictures.
He was a production executive on “Bat Masterson” and “Highway Patrol,” and as a business executive he worked on “Combat,” “General Hospital” and “Young Marrieds.”
Stolnitz was co-creator and production executive on “Shindig.” While at ABC, he was the production representative on the feature motion picture “Candy” and at Metro Media on the feature “Catch My Soul.” He served as business executive on a Cousteau special and produced three two-hour telefilms: “Secret Night Caller,” “Foster & Laurie” and “Call of the Wild.”
His wife of 42 years, Suzanne, died this past December from complications of lung cancer. Among his survivors are son Scott and wife Cindy; granddaughter Skye, who is purrsuing a career in production at Warner Bros.; and a brother, Herb.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Art Stolnitz Law Scholarship Fund may be sent to Office of Development, U. of Tennessee, 600 Andy Holt Tower, Knoxville, TN 37997.