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Alan Hirschfield, Former Columbia Chief Exec, Dies at 79

Longtime entertainment exec Alan Hirschfield, who oversaw such films as “Taxi Driver” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and held high posts at Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox, has died. He was 79.

According to his son, Marc Hirschfield, Alan Hirschfield died of natural causes on Thursday in his home in Wilson, Wyoming.

Hirschfield served as CEO of Columbia Pictures from 1973 to 1978. The exec was ousted from the studio after he refused on moral grounds to reinstate David Begelman, who had embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from Columbia. He served as chairman for 20th Century Fox from 1982 to 1986.

Hirschfield was co-CEO and investment banker at Financial News Network from 1990 to 1992. From 1992 to 2000, he served as co-CEO of Data Broadcasting Corp.

Marc Hirschfield also credits Alan Hirschfield with starting Arista Records with Clive Davis.

Hirschfield, who was born in New York and raised in Oklahoma, is survived by his wife, three children, six grandchildren, niece and grand-niece.

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