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Marty Pasetta, Longtime Oscarcast Director, Dies at 82

Marty Pasetta, best known for directing the Academy Awards telecast annually from 1972 to 1988, died Thursday night. He was 82.

Pasetta was struck by a car he had just exited in La Quinta, Calif., in Riverside County, the Desert Sun reported. He died at the scene, police said.

The driver, identified as Keith Stewart, 75, of La Quinta, stopped his vehicle to drop off Pasetta and another passenger, according to the sheriff’s department. Stewart then went to exit his vehicle, but accidentally left the car’s transmission engaged, causing him to crash into his passengers.

Pasetta also helmed “Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii,” which aired on Jan. 14, 1973, in more than 40 countries. The concert special, featuring Elvis Presley at the Honolulu International Center, remains one of the most watched TV programs in history.

When Pasetta was chosen to take reins of the 60th Annual Academy Awards in 1988, he set an all-time 17-year record for directing the event. He also produced and directed eight live Grammy Awards and Emmy telecasts.

Pasetta’s other notable credits include “AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Fred Astaire” (1981), “The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour” (1967) and TV inaugural galas for presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

To circumvent a strike by screen and television writers prior to the 1988 Oscars, Pasetta used standup comedians for the broadcast, including Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal.

Pasetta is survived by his children Martin Pasetta, Gregory Pasetta and Debbie Palacio.

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