David Z. Marmel, who executive produced Mrs. America and Mrs. World pageants for television, died Sept. 1 of cancer at his home in La Quinta, California, a family spokesperson said. He was 84.
Marmel and his wife, Elaine, created the long-running Victor Awards, which honor sports personalities and raises funds and awareness for the City of Hope cancer center outside Los Angeles.
He also worked with John H. Johnson to launch the Black Achievement Awards, which he executive produced for 11 years starting with the inaugural edition in 1978.
Born in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve in 1935, Marmel served in the U.S. Army and played baseball in the Chicago Cubs organization.
In 1977, he revived the Mrs. America pageant, which had taken place from 1938-68, and was its executive director and CEO. He also created the Mrs. World competition.
Marmel also was president of the newly formed entertainment and special events division of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1980-84.
In addition to his wife of 51 years, survivors include nephews and nieces Steven, Judi, Jared, Audrey, Elizabeth and Tim.