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John Santikos, founder of one of the largest family-owned theater chains in Texas, died on December 30 at the age of 87.

Born in Athens, Greece, The Santikos Theatres founder came with his parents to the United States in 1911, originally settling in Waco. Father and son became intimately involved in the state’s movie business, first with nickelodeons and later with a theater chain that grew to have outposts in San Antonio and the Houston area.

In 1987, Santikos sold all his theatres to Act III Theatres, owned by “All in the Family” creator Norman Lear. Act III later sold all of its theatres to Regal Cinema, and when Regal filed for bankruptcy in 2001, Santikos was able to buy back all the San Antonio theatres he had originally sold.

“People who knew him and with whom he worked over the years will be deeply affected by his loss,” said Janice Bunch, COO of Santikos Theatres, in a statement. “He was a wonderful mentor to the over 1,500 employees in his operations.”

Santikos is survived by his daughter, Violet Santikos, sister Kiki Pringle, a grand-daughter and nephew.