November 5, 1927 - December 22, 2013
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Television entrepreneur Frederic Rheinstein, 86, died peacefully at home with his family on December 22, 2013. Born in New York City on November 5, 1927, Fred attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Princeton University where he graduated in the class of 1949.
Fred's first job after college was as an assistant stage manager for NBC Television and, after service in the Army as a draftee during the Korean War, he returned to NBC and was promoted to stage manager of the top-rated "Your Show of Shows" with Sid Caesar & Imogene Coca. In 1952 he moved to California to go to work for NBC's network news division and became an on-site producer-director for remote coverage of important global events such as: President Eisenhower's1959 historic trip to India; Jack Ruby's shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald (live in Dallas after President Kennedy's assassination); Houston Mission Control Center coverage for almost all Gemini and Apollo space missions; fifteen trips to the Vietnam war zone for specials and regular coverage; and producing remotes during all political conventions between 1956-1972. He won an Emmy for live coverage from Mihuatlan, Mexico, of the 1971 total solar eclipse.
In 1974 he founded The Post Group in Hollywood and later a branch in the former Disney/MGM Studios in Orlando. He was a pioneer and leader in the post production world for over 30 years.
Concurrently, he launched World Sports Enterprises with his partner Ken Squier, which quickly became the leading independent racing production company in the country, famous for developing Motorweek Illustrated, the first-ever weekly motorsports show on TBS, and for producing every kind of racing - NASCAR, dragsters, airplanes, offshore power boats, motorcycles, sports cars and sprint cars - for many of the top broadcast and cable networks.
Professionally, he was a member of the board and an officer of the Directors' Guild of America and a board member of the Directors' Guild of America Foundation. He had been active on the boards of the Barlow Foundation and the Episcopal School of Los Angeles. He relished mentoring young entrepreneurs particularly through the Pasadena Angels and invested with a few of them.
He anonymously created and funded for the past decade the "L.A. Opera 90012" program - the story of which was told in a 2008 Los Angeles Times article "A Delight at the Opera" which recounts anonymously (at his insistence) the program that each year sponsors an essay contest for high school students to explain why they want to see an opera. The Times wrote: "The 50 or so teenagers selected are rewarded with tickets to four performances for them and a parent or guardian. They also get backstage tours and pre-show talks about the art form from instrumentalists, singers or others involved in the productions." Fred was motivated to create the program by his boyhood memories of going to the theater with his mother, a theater critic for The New Yorker and Mademoiselle magazines, and he wanted to offer others the experience he had growing up. As the L.A.Times article noted, "with ticket prices prohibitively steep for most families, the outreach effort offers parents and teenagers a cultural experience alien to most."
Fred Rheinstein will be remembered for his many accomplishments and the great impact he had on family, friends and ex-employees for whom he truly was a larger than life figure.
In addition to his wife, Suzanne, Fred is survived by his daughter, Linda C. Rheinstein, his son, David A. Rheinstein, daughter Katherine R. Brodsky, son in law Alexander Brodsky, granddaughters Beatriz and Frederica Brodsky, his brother, Robert Rheinstein, seven nieces and nephews, and countless friends who mourn his death but relish their good fortune in having counted him as a friend and mentor. He was predeceased by his sister Katherine R. Warren. His marriage to Patricia Horn ended in divorce.
A Requiem Eucharist in celebration of the life of Frederic Rheinstein will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church Beverly Hills on January 25, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to L.A. Opera 90012 or the Episcopal School of Los Angeles.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 29 to Dec. 31, 2013