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Paramount Executive Dead in Apparent Suicide

David Thornton, a senior executive in Paramount Picture’s licensing division, died earlier this week of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound near his home in Valencia, Calif., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Two residents walking on the San Francisquito Creek Trail in the Santa Clarita Valley community discovered the body Wednesday morning. A semi-automatic 9mm handgun was nearby. The scene is near McBean Parkway and Summerhill Lane.

Thornton, 60, had worked at Paramount since 1998, according to his LinkedIn profile. He started as a VP of production at Paramount Parks, then was a VP for design and development at Paramount Pictures, before being elevated to the Sr. VP position in licensing in 2014.

Thornton helped bring Paramount’s intellectual property to other platforms, including theme park attractions. In 2004, he touted a new ride opening at the Las Vegas Hilton. Taken from “Star Trek: Voyager,” it was called Borg Invasion 4D. The ride used 3D digital projection and special motion chairs to create “the most immersive, the most intense simulated experience available anywhere,” Thornton said at the time.

Along with the LinkedIn listing of his promotion to executive vice president, Thornton included a note: “Wonderful new opportunities. I’m grateful.”

Detective Steve Lankford of the sheriff’s homicide division said there was no indication of why Thornton would have taken his own life.

“David was passionate about his work, his colleagues and being part of Paramount,” the studio said in a statement Friday afternoon. “We are saddened by his passing and offer our condolences to his family.”

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