TV exec Hal Golden dies at 86

Was former president of ABC Films

Harold “Hal” Golden, a television industry leader and former president of ABC Films, died June 30 of natural causes in Capistrano Beach, Calif. He was 86.

Golden began his nearly half a century in the television broadcast business at MCA Universal Television (1953-65) as a sales executive in the Chicago office and ascended to exec VP. From MCA he headed to ABC Films (1965-1970), where he was president. He left ABC to pursue his passion for tennis and created the World Series of Tennis under the banner of Golden TV 1970-80. He returned to the syndication business with the newly formed Worldvision Enterprises as head of worldwide sales 1980-85.

He was instrumental in bringing Australia’s No. 1 talkshow, “The Don Lane Show,” to America and launched Aaron Spelling’s “Love Boat” into U.S. syndication.

Born Harold Goldstein in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Golden served in the U.S. Army and Army Air Forces 1942-46. He attended Syracuse U. on the G.I. Bill and graduated from 1950 with a B.S. in radio and psychology. While in college and immediately afterwards, he acted, did voiceover work, wrote and directed local programs in the Buffalo, N.Y., area, was an ad agency account exec and wrote promotional copy for WNBC in New York.

Golden encouraged Phil Donahue to move his show from Dayton, Ohio, to Chicago, where it took off.

He was an early pioneer and guiding force behind NATPE (the National Assn. for Television Program Executives) and was also a founding member of the Assn. of Program Distributors.

Golden’s wife, Bernice “Bunny” Ginsberg, died in 2010. He is survived by two sons, Richard, senior VP, regional manager, Dallas, at CBS Television Distribution, and Donald; a daughter, Margery; and two granddaughters.

Donations may be made to Hospice of Saddleback Valley, 654 Camino de los Mares, San Clemente, CA 92673.

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