Earl Lestz, a longtime studio executive at Paramount Pictures, died Tuesday from an apparent heart attack. He was 78.

Lestz served as the President of Paramount Studio Group from 1983 to 2004 and was in charge of studio operations, overseeing real estate, facility rentals, special events and post production facilities.

Under his leadership, more than 1.3 million square feet of facilities were added to Paramount’s 63-acre lot, and major infrastructure upgrades were completed. He was also instrumental in developing the first childcare center for the studio.

He was also the former chairman of the board of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and was honored for his service to the entertainment industry with a star on the Walk of Fame. Lestz was a member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

After leaving Paramount, he provided management consulting services to movie and television studios, investment firms and production and post production companies.


He graduated Drexel University and completed the Executive Management Program at UCLA’s Graduate School of Management. Before joining Paramount, he was an executive with Federated Department Stores.

His volunteer activities included serving on the board of the Hollywood Arts Council, the Hollywood Entertainment Museum, and Goodwill Industries.



A memorial service will be held Friday, June 9 at 9 a.m. at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.

He is survived by a son, Paul; a daughter, Marcie Jast; and six grandchildren.