Dick Fox, Exhibitor and Former NATO President, Dies at 90

Courtesy of Fox Theatres
Dick Fox

He launched the Fox Theatres chain in 1957 with a drive-in located in the town of Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania.

Dick Fox, who founded a chain of movie theaters and served as the last volunteer president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, died Wednesday in Boca Raton, Florida, his family announced. He was 90.

Fox brought modern suburban movie houses to markets throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Florida.

He launched Reading, Pennsylvania-based Fox Theatres in 1957 with the Sinking Spring Drive-In Theatre — known for having the "world’s largest CinemaScope screen" — and over the next 33 years grew the circuit to 25 locations with more than 100 screens and 1,000-plus employees. At its peak, Fox Theatres was one of the largest independently owned movie theater companies in the U.S.

In 1984, Fox was elected president of NATO and "was a formidable leader of theatrical exhibition at a time when the industry wrestled with existential issues ranging from contentious trade practices to competition from new technologies," his family noted.

He also was a member of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.

Born on Jan. 5, 1929, in Buffalo, New York, Richard Allen Fox attended the University of Buffalo and served in the U.S. Army.

Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Marcia; sons Donald, now president of Fox Theaters, and Herrick; daughter Sheryl; sister Lee; former wife Helen; seven grandchildren; three stepchildren; and seven step-grandchildren.

Donations in his name can be made to the Howard Fox Memorial Law Scholarship Fund at the Berks County Community Foundation.