James Marrinan, International TV Executive, Dies at 60

He worked at Viacom, ITC and Warner Bros. before co-founding a consulting firm in 1999.

James Marrinan, a veteran international television executive and influential industry consultant, died March 23 after suffering a heart attack at Los Angeles International Airport. He was 60.

Marrinan began his career with a 12-year stint at Viacom, then left for ITC Entertainment to head its international division. When the company was acquired by PolyGram International and moved its operations to London in 1995, he decided to remain in the U.S. and a year later joined Warner Bros. International Television Distribution as a senior vp.

In his two years at Warner Bros. before its merger with Turner Entertainment, Marrinan was responsible for more than $1 billion in annual programming sales to broadcasters outside the States. He oversaw the global distribution of such shows as I Love Lucy, Thunderbirds, The Prisoner, The Cosby Show, Friends and ER.

In 1999, Marrinan co-founded, with David Wollos, Entertainment Media Consultants, which provides market analysis and consultancy services to the international film and TV industry. The company has partners based in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo.

“I don't think I ever saw Jim without a smile on his face or a warm and humorous phrase on his tongue — did you?” said Gary Marenzi, the former co-president of worldwide TV at MGM, told World Screen magazine. “He was infectiously positive and incredibly generous to all of us. That's the way I'll remember Jim, and that’s probably the best legacy that anyone can ever hope to leave behind for us to celebrate.”

Marrinan, a New York native, lived in Los Angeles. Survivors include his wife Karen and son Ryan.