Veteran Film Exec Joseph Adelman Dies at 79

Joseph Adelman

He worked for United Artists and Paramount, negotiated contracts for the AMPTP and founded KidPix, a distributor of children’s animation.

Joseph Adelman, a veteran film industry executive, died Tuesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank following a six-month battle with cancer. He was 79.

Adelman worked for United Artists and Paramount and from 1977-79 served as the COO of the Association of Motion Picture & Television Producers (the precursor of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers), where he was the chief negotiator on behalf of the Hollywood studios with labor unions and government regulatory agencies.

Adelman broke into the entertainment world in 1958 when he joined the New York legal department at United Artists Corp. In 1962, he moved to Los Angeles to become vp West Coast business affairs for the studio.

In 1979, Adelman served as vp business affairs at Paramount, supervising production and distribution negotiations with producers, directors, writers, stars and composers. Four years later, he co-founded KidPix, a distributor of children’s animated features for worldwide television and home video.

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Since 1991, Adelman was CEO of International Entertainment Enterprises, an independent sales and business representative for producers and owners of feature films, documentaries and children’s animation. Clients included the Frank Capra family, Oscar-winning producer Walter Mirisch and the John Wayne film library. 

Born on Dec. 27, 1933, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Adelman graduated from New York University and Harvard Law School and was a member of the bar in California and New York.

He was a member of the executive branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Association of Television Programming Executives. 

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Jonie; his daughter Lisa and son-in-law Charles; son David and daughter-in-law Sheri; grandchildren Julia, Ashley and Emily; and sister Sybil.   

A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Oct. 11 at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Culver City. Contributions in Adelman’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society.