Veteran film exec Joseph A. Adelman, a United Artist VP who headed AMPTP in the late ’70s, died Tuesday at Burbank’s St. Joseph Hospital following a six-month battle with cancer. He was 79.
Adelman was CEO of International Entertainment Enterprises, a distributor of features, docs and children’s animation since 1991. His clients included the Frank Capra family, producer Walter Mirisch and the John Wayne Film Library.
In 1983, he co-founded KidPix, a distributor of children’s animated features. Adelman also served as VP of business affairs at Paramount Pictures in 1979 where he supervised film production and distribution negotiations with producers, directors, writers, actors and composers.
Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Adelman entered the entertainment biz in 1958 when he joined the New York legal department at United Artists Corp. He was promoted to UA’s VP of West Coast business affairs after moving to Los Angeles in 1962. Following his stint at UA, Adelman served as CEO of the Association of Motion Picture & Television Producers from 1977 to 1979. His duties included negotiating with Hollywood labor unions and government agencies.
Adelman, who graduated from New York University and Harvard Law School, was a member of the Bar in both California and New York. He served on the executive branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the National Association of Television Programming Executives.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jonie, his daughter Lisa, son David, three grandchildren, and sister Sybil. Funeral services will be held on Oct. 11 at 10 a.m. at Hillside Memorial Park. Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.