Seymour “Cy” Leslie, former chairman and CEO of MGM/UA Home Entertainment Group, died of heart failure Jan. 6 in Roslyn, N.Y. He was 85.
At the time of his death he was chairman of Leslie-Linton Entertainment, a Gotham venture capital firm that specializes in the entertainment industry.
Leslie served as president of CBS Video Enterprises from 1980 to 1982 and was founder and chairman of the MGM/UA Home Entertainment Group until its sale in 1987. During his time at MGM/UA, he was instrumental in seeing the video business expand from rental into sell-through, as well as introducing boxed sets. He also brought MGM/UA Home Entertainment into pay TV and licensing.
Before the advent of homevideo, Leslie worked in the music business, starting with founding Pickwick International in 1953, a recording company that specialized in re-issues and distribution, retailing and music publishing. Over 25 years as chairman, he made Pickwick into an internationally known company, and was named Record Industry Man of The Year in 1975.
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Leslie served as a member of the boards of many public, private and not-for-profit corporations, was vice chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and on the board of the music industry’s T. J. Martel Foundation. He was a past president of the Friar’s Club and served on its board for more than 20 years.
He also served as visiting distinguished professor at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse U., from which he received an honorary doctorate degree.
Leslie is survived by his wife Barbara, three daughters and four grandchildren.