Peter Grad, Former President of MTM Television, Dies at 75
He founded and chaired the annual A Night at Sardi’s fundraiser with his wife, Laurie. His family also includes TV execs Nicholas Grad and Carolyn Bernstein and director James Burrows.
Peter Grad, a television executive, producer and philanthropist, died of a heart attack Saturday while on vacation in Vail, Colo., his family announced. He was 75.
Survivors include his son, Nicholas Grad, president of original programming and production at FX Networks, and Nicholas’ wife, Carolyn Bernstein, executive vp at Endemol Shine Studios.
Grad’s brother-in-law is famed TV director and 10-time Emmy Award winner James Burrows.
Grad began his career at Paramount Television before moving to 20th Century Fox Television, and he went on to serve as president of MTM Television. During his career, he was responsible for shepherding such hit series as NBC’s L.A. Law, ABC’s The Fall Guy and Mr. Belvedere and CBS’ Evening Shade.
After retiring from the entertainment business, Grad dedicated himself to raising awareness and support for the Alzheimer’s Association. As a tribute to his late father-in-law, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Abe Burrows, Peter and his wife, Laurie, co-founded and co-chaired the 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 garnered the support of a host of stage, TV and film stars who turn out to perform songs from Broadway musicals and legendary composers.
Grad was born March 22, 1940, in Newark, New Jersey. He attended the George School, a prestigious prep academy in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and then the University of Pennsylvania. He tried engineering, finance, acting and producing (his credits include the Broadway plays Minnie’s Boys, starring Shelley Winters, and Hurry, Harry) before he found his calling as a TV executive.
Grad, who lived in Los Angeles, spent the day before his death with his wife of 47 years; they enjoyed golf, dinner and a concert under the stars with friends from college.
Survivors also include his grandchildren Lucas and Georgia and his sister Susan and her husband Paul, who was his oldest friend.
A memorial celebration will take place in mid-August. Contributions may be made to the A Night at Sardi’s fundraiser.