Peter Grad, Former MTM Television President, Dies At 75

Peter Grad Dead
Jordan Strauss/Invision for Alzheimer's Association

Peter Grad, a television executive and philanthropist, died of a heart attack Aug. 1 while on vacation in Vail, Colo. He was 75.

Grad spent five years as president of MTM Television from 1987 to 1992. He also did a seven-year stint as a TV development exec at 20th Century Fox. During his long run in TV he helped shepherd such notable series as “L.A. Law,” “The Fall Guy,” “Mr. Belvedere” and “Evening Shade.”

Grad was married for 47 years to Laurie Burrows Grad, daughter of famed playwright-director Abe Burrows. He was the father of Nick Grad, president of original programming and production at FX Networks.

Born in Newark, N.J., Grad grew up on the Jersey shore. He attended the University of Pennsylvania. He dabbled in everything from engineering and finance to acting and producing for the stage before he turned to TV development in 1977, when he joined Paramount TV on the East Coast. By the end of 1977, Grad had relocated to Paramount on the West Coast. He moved to Time Life Television in 1978 and then to Columbia Pictures Television before beginning his tenure at Fox in 1980.

After retiring from the entertainment business, Grad devoted much of his time to raising awareness and support for the Alzheimer’s Assn. As a tribute to his late father-in-law, Peter and Laurie Grad launched and co-chaired the Alzheimer’s Assn.’s annual A Night at Sardi’s fundraiser, which recognizes researchers, doctors, caregivers and families affected by the neurological disease. The event has generated $27 million in donations over the past 23 years and has garnered the support of a host of stage, TV and film stars who perform songs from Broadway musicals.

In addition to his wife and son, survivors include daughter-in-law Carolyn Bernstein, executive VP at Endemol Shine Studios; grandchildren Lucas and Georgia; a sister, Susan Grad Baerwald, and brother-in-law James Burrows, the noted TV director.

A memorial is being planned for later this month. The family requests that donations be made in Grad’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Assn.’s A Night At Sardi’s fundraiser via Alz.org/sardis.