Thomas W. Sarnoff, a longtime NBC executive who went connected to clasp activity roles astatine nan Television Academy, died connected June 4. He was 96.
From 1965 to 1977, Sarnoff served arsenic unit executive vice president, West Coast, and president of NBC Entertainment Corporation. During his clip there, Sarnoff negotiated accumulation deals pinch all-star talent specified arsenic Bob Hope and Colonel Tom Parker for galore of Elvis Presley’s tv specials, arsenic good arsenic spearheaded nan contracts for NBC’s Burbank Studios. He was besides credited pinch nan accumulation of worldwide touring family acts successful business pinch Walt Disney specified arsenic “Peter Pan” and “Disney connected Parade.”
Sarnoff past founded his ain company, Sarnoff International Enterprises Inc., wherever he produced nan “Yabba Dabba Doo” unrecorded arena circuit centered astir beloved Hanna-Barbera characters. Sarnoff besides revived nan iconic Gumby characteristic for a 1987 half-hour bid and executive produced 3 “Bonanza” movies.
Beyond his time job, Sarnoff was a captious leader of nan Television Academy and Television Academy Foundation for 50 years. His tenure began successful nan ’70s arsenic a president of nan National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, earlier it divided into nan Primetime Emmy-focused Television Academy and nan National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which oversees nan Daytime, News and Sports Emmys. Sarnoff went connected to service connected nan executive committee for nan committee of governors of nan Television Academy and became president of nan Television Academy Foundation successful nan ’90s. He was later named chair emeritus successful perpetuity. At nan Foundation, Sarnoff co-founded “The Interviews: An Oral History of Television” initiative, and grew it to go nan intermezo industry’s largest oral history program.
Born connected Feb. 23, 1927 successful New York City, Sarnoff was nan youngest boy of power and tv trailblazer David Sarnoff, who founded RCA and NBC. He attended Princeton University and served successful World War II arsenic a combat technologist and awesome corps coach astatine West Point. After nan war, Sarnoff transferred to Stanford, wherever he earned a bachelor’s grade successful electrical engineering and a master’s successful business administration. After a short stint astatine ABC successful nan opening of his career, Sarnoff joined NBC successful 1952.
Throughout his life, Sarnoff besides served connected nan boards of nan American Film Institute, Hope Enterprises and Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center successful Burbank. He was a personnel of nan committee of trustees of nan National Conference of Christians and Jews, president of nan Entertainment Industry Foundation, president of nan Research Foundation astatine Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, advisory assembly personnel of nan radio-TV section of nan University of Judaism and served connected nan California Commission for nan Reform of Intermediate and Secondary Education.
Sarnoff is preceded successful decease by his woman of 67 years, Janyce, who died successful 2021. He is survived by sons Daniel and Timothy, girl Cynthia Sarnoff-Ross, 9 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.