Marc A. Lustgarten, chairman of Madison Square Garden and Cablevision’s vice chairman, died Monday from cancer in New York. He was 52.
Under his leadership, he expanded Cablevision’s acquisitions to include purchasing controlling or significant interests in Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and Rangers, Radio City Entertainment, the Wiz, Loews Cineplex Theatres and Clearview Cinema Group.
One of Lustgarten’s most well-known accomplishments was establishing Cablevision’s sports division. He also played a landmark leadership role in the formation of Fox Sports Net, a partnership between Cablevision and Fox/Liberty Networks.
A graduate of New York Law School and New York U. Law School, Lustgarten began his career with Cablevision in 1975, serving as assistant general counsel. In his post, Lustgarten was responsible for all legal operations involving Cablevision and its programming.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Lustgarten helped form Rainbow Media Holdings, a programming operation of Cablevision. At Rainbow, Lustgarten was CEO and president, helping launch American Movie Classics, Bravo, News 12 Long Island and SportsChannel.
In 1991, Lustgarten was promoted to vice chairman of Cablevision. Due in part to his efforts, Cablevision became a leader in entertainment in New York, answering to 2.7 million cable subscribers.
Between his leadership roles in the entertainment industry, Lustgarten was active in numerous charities, serving on the board of directors for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. His philanthropic efforts endowed him with the 1998 Man of the Year award by the Hebrew Home for the Aged.
Lustgarten is survived by his wife, Marcia, a daughter, a son, his father and two brothers.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, P.O. Box 2141, New York, NY 10116-2141.