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Bill Thompson, a long-time studio executive who booked features with companies like Miramax Films, Gramercy Pictures and Lot 47 Films, died of cancer on Sunday, according to his wife. He was 73.

Thompson’s career spanned over 50 years in film distribution and exhibition in both executive sales and senior film-buying positions.

The New York native was launched onto a successful trajectory in the film industry when he joined 20th Century Fox’s Washington, D.C. Branch. He returned to his home state in 1978 to work at Cinema 5 Distribution, where he became well-versed in the process of buying films by the following year. Having discovered a newfound calling, Thompson continued to take on film-buying roles with exhibitors like Walter Reade, Cineplex Odeon and City Cinemas.

On the distribution side of the industry, Thompson booked with notable clients like Picturehouse, Apparition, Newmarket Films and Film District. Bob Berney, CEO of Picturehouse and Thompson’s former superior in the workplace, fondly recalled the experience of collaborating with the seasoned executive: “Bill was always part of my core team at Newmarket, Picturehouse and FilmDistrict. Bill was devoted to the theatrical experience and the people in the business equally. I’m not alone in saying he was one of a kind, a real gentleman and will be missed.”

Thompson went on to work as senior vice president of distribution and exhibition at Cohen Media Group for seven years while also teaching at New York University’s School of Continuing Education, before announcing his retirement in 2020. In 2022, he was awarded the Motion Picture Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of service.

Thompson was also an avid philanthropist who regularly supported the MPC in New York, Variety Children’s Charity, the Ronald McDonald House, the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Kidney Foundation.

He is survived by Sherrie Thompson, his wife of 43 years, as well as his daughters Samantha Thompson and Sarah Shugar. Thompson is also survived by his son-in-law, Jonathan Shugar and his granchildren, Eli and Nathan Shugar.

Donations may be made to The Motion Picture Club of New York in his honor.

Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly reported Thompson’s age at the time of his death.