Alan Hirschfield, Former Chief Exec of Columbia, Dies at 79

AP Photo/Jackson Hole News&Guide, Price Chambers
Alan Hirschfield

He helped make the films 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' and 'Taxi Driver.'

Alan Hirschfield, a former entertainment executive who helped make the 1970s movies Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Taxi Driver, has died. He was 79.

Son Marc Hirschfield says the former chief executive of Columbia Pictures died Thursday at his home in Wilson, Wyoming, of natural causes.

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Hirschfield held the post at Columbia from 1973 to 1978 and was chairman of Twentieth Century Fox from 1982 to 1986.

Marc Hirschfield says his father also started Arista Records with music executive Clive Davis.

Hirschfield was ousted at Columbia after he opposed the reinstatement of studio boss David Begelman, who embezzled more than $61,000, on moral grounds.

Hirschfield was born in New York and raised in Oklahoma. He is survived by his wife, Berte, three children, six grandchildren, niece and grand-niece.