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Tony Lynn, the former president of the Playboy Entertainment Group who also worked at MGM and Showtime, died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a brief battle with cancer. He was 66.
An expert in international television, Lynn established 25 joint ventures for Playboy-branded channels in more than 100 countries and presided over tenfold increases in revenue and profits during his 1992-2000 stint with the company.
Lynn was the only witness for Playboy in its First Amendment challenge to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Playboy won its challenge at the Supreme Court, establishing a free speech precedent.
After serving as senior vp program distribution at Showtime Networks from 2004-08, Lynn launched Agile Enterprises, a consulting practice that provided advice for motion picture and television sales, acquisition, marketing and distribution issues.
In 2017, he was a producer on the feature The Ottoman Lieutenant.
Among Lynn’s early jobs in the fledgling cable TV industry was at a 12-channel rotary-dial teleprompter cable system in Elmira, New York.
He worked at HBO and Columbia Pictures, then joined MGM Telecommunications in 1987 as president of worldwide television, video and film distribution.
Survivors include his wife Mary Ellen Callahan, assistant general counsel for privacy at the Walt Disney Co.; children Megan and Jeff; granddaughter Adelaide; sister Marie; and his first wife, Kathy. A memorial is set for Jan. 26 on the Paramount lot in Hollywood.
Showtime vp Frank Marchesini, who worked with Lynn, announced his death.
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