You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Robert Fitzgerald, TV exec at MCA, dies at 86

Yale lawyer worked with Lew Wasserman

Robert Fitzgerald, an attorney who worked with Lew Wasserman at MCA and later with David Wolper, died Jan. 18 in Santa Barbara, Calif., after a lengthy illness. He was 86.

A Yale Law School grad dissatisfied with the traditional law firm, he walked into MCA in 1956 with no appointment and applied for a job; the Yale pedigree impressed them. The agency would soon begin its multistage acquisition of Universal Studios; new entity Revue Studios was created to handle the expanding TV market.

Fitzgerald was given numerous assignments working along with Ned Tanen, Taft Schreiber and Al Dorskind. Wasserman gave Fitzgerald the task of expanding the foreign markets as well as merchandising for MCA’s many TV shows, including “Mr. Ed,” “Wagon Train” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

A 1961 trip to Japan coincided with the release of “Psycho,” and Fitzgerald’s duties included managing Hitchcock’s press junkets.

In 1962 he moved to CBS, followed two years later by a stint at Metromedia/David Wolper Prods., where he worked on the Jacques Cousteau specials. He was at Warner Bros. from 1968-71.

In 1972, he partnered with his longtime friend and documentary filmmaker Robert Snyder (“The Henry Miller Odyssey”).

In the 1970s, he moved out of the entertainment biz into commercial real estate and, later, education.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lucyanna; son Robert Jr., a sound supervisor; and daughter Susie, senior VP, AMC scripted programming; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Donations may be made to the Community Environmental Council, 26 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

More TV

  • THE BLACKLIST -- "Katarina Rostova (#3)"

    ‘The Blacklist’ Bosses on Delivering the 'Really Intense Family Drama That We've Been Promising for Seven Years'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Katarina Rostova,” the midseason seventh season finale of “The Blacklist.” Since “The Blacklist” began it has been building towards a confrontation between Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) and her biological mother, Katarina Rostova (Laila Robbins). That promised confrontation was front-and-center in the seventh season [...]

  • REEF BREAK - "Pilot" - When

    'Reef Break' Canceled After One Season at ABC

    “Reef Break” will not be back for a second season at ABC. The series debuted back in June on the broadcaster and aired 13 episodes, with the finale airing on Sept. 13. It starred Poppy Montgomery as Cat Chambers, Ray Stevenson as Jake Elliot, Desmond Chiam as Wyatt Cole, Melissa Bonne as Ana Dumont and [...]

  • Jeff Shell

    Jeff Shell: Who Is the NBCUniversal Heir Apparent?

    Analytical, decisive, loyal, fair, empowering. Those are just a few of the choice words industry insiders who have worked with incoming NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell — set to succeed current chief exec Steve Burke, as Variety exclusively reported — use to describe the longtime media exec.  On Universal’s North Hollywood lot, many insiders who work [...]

  • Reese Witherspoon Kerry Washington Little Fires

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Reveals 'Little Fires Everywhere' Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Hulu announces a premiere date for “Little Fires Everywhere” and Variety exclusively obtains a first look at this year’s Christmas episode of “The Simpsons.” DATES “Little Fires Everywhere” will debut March 18, Hulu announced. Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street, and ABC Signature Studios, the show [...]

  • Watchmen Regina King Tim Blake Nelson

    How 'Watchmen' Pulled Off One of the Best TV Seasons of the Decade

    The first time Damon Lindelof realized that “Watchmen” — his adaptation/remix/continuation of the groundbreaking 1986 graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons — might actually be a hit was after the pilot debuted at New York Comic Con in October. In the following panel, the 46-year-old writer-producer could tell the audience was connecting with [...]

  • 9-1-1: Angela Bassett in the “Christmas

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of Dec. 2: 'The Good Doctor,' '9-1-1' Top Gainers

    “The Good Doctor” on ABC and “9-1-1” on Fox were the two biggest gainers in the Live+3 TV ratings for the week of Dec. 2. The pair benefited from the absence of NBC’s “This Is Us,” which to date has shown the largest gains across all scripted shows after three days of delayed viewing. “Good [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content