Tour guide rose to group exec VP of network

Veteran NBC executive Ray Timothy died of causes related to multiple myeloma cancer on Thursday in Seattle. He was 75.

Timothy, who rose from being an NBC tour guide to group executive vice president of NBC before his retirement in 1988, held 30 different jobs and titles in a variety of departments at the company over a 34-year career and was instrumental in NBC’s growth and change during that period, per the company.

A native New Yorker, Timothy graduated from Queens College and came to NBC in 1954 as a tour guide in New York, attending law school at night to prepare for a future business career in television. He was drafted after the Korean War and served in the Military Police at Fort Lewis, Wash. He returned to finish his law degree, which he received from Brooklyn College. Timothy also came back to NBC’s Guest Relations and eventually became assistant billings clerk in the controller’s office.

After a variety of other jobs at NBC, Timothy received his big break in 1964 when he was hired in the Spot Sales Division to sell time to the network’s five owned-and-operated stations.

A series of promotions followed: He was named local sales manager of WKYC-TV in Cleveland in 1966, then general sales manager of WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.; in 1970, he returned to Cleveland as station manager and moved to Los Angeles in 1973 to become general manager of KNBC-TV.

Two years later, Timothy was assigned to New York, where he was named vice president and general manager of WNBC-TV. He asked to move over to Affiliate Relations and became executive VP in the late 1970s. In 1982, Timothy was given more responsibility as president, Entertainment Division and Television Network.

In 1984, Timothy’s role further expanded to include Business Affairs and NBC Prods. In 1986, he was promoted to group executive vice president of NBC and retired while in that position in 1988.

In 1989, Timothy began work for Furman Selz financial advisory firm before leaving in 1997 to start Salem Partners, a media and entertainment industry company that focused on media advice and capital-raising for Wall Street firms.

He is survived by wife Kathy, three sons, and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held in Port Washington, New York, with details still pending.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Multiple Myeloma Foundation at the RayTimothy.com website, where comments on Timothy’s life also will be accepted.

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