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Frank Fouce Jr., Pioneer of Spanish-Language U.S. TV, Dies at 85

Frank Louis Fouce, a pioneer of Spanish-language entertainment in the U.S. and a founder of what later became Univision, died Sept. 22 in Los Angeles of lymphoma. He was 85.

He founded Spanish International Communications Corp. in 1961 with his father, Frank Fouce Sr., and others. Frank Jr. served as president and chairman of the Board of SICC, the first group of Spanish-language and UHF television stations in the U.S., which later became Univision when it was bought by Hallmark. The first station of the group was KWEX-TV channel 41 in San Antonio. Fouce also served as president of KMEX-TV channel 34 in Los Angeles.

Fouce, who began his career in early Hollywood as an assistant director at Hal Roach Studios and also worked at Bing Crosby Enterprises and on “Fireside Theater,” was an impresario for 25 years, producing vaudeville shows at his Spanish International Theaters, including L.A.’s Million Dollar and Mayan venues, before the move into broadcasting.

From countries including Mexico, Cuba and Spain, Fouce brought many talented artists to perform at his theaters, including Dolores del Rio, Lupita Tovar, Maria Felix, Agustin Lara, Miguel Aceves Mejia, Maria Victoria, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Jose Feliciano, Juan Gabriel, Vicente Fernandez, Los Polivoces, and Celia Cruz. Among the many groups that performed at the Million Dollar were the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Mariachi Estrellas de Mexico de Lupita Morales and Mariachi Las Coronelas de Carlota Noriega. The late Mexican film star Antonio Aguilar performed with his rodeo horses onstage there.

His last venture into broadcasting was founding, in 1988, KRCA, a television station broadcasting in Burbank.

Fouce is survived by his wife of 65 years, Betty; five children, Laura, Thomas, Paula, Martha and Victoria; and four grandchildren.

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