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James H. Rich Jr.

1947 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
James H. Rich Jr. Obituary
December 24, 1947 - January 20, 2018 James H. Rich, Jr., age 70, of Tarzana, CA, died peacefully from the complications of cancer on January 20, 2018 with his loving wife of almost 44 years, Abigail Crow Rich, by his side. Jim was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on December 24, 1947, to James H. Rich and the late Idamae Brody Rich. The date of his birth, he would tell everyone, was the result of his mother falling off a ladder while trying to put a star on the Christmas tree. He graduated from the all-boys prep school, Shadyside Academy, in 1965, where, among other activities, he was a member of the honorary Sargon Society, and played on the varsity tennis and football teams. He headed to Syracuse University to study Communications, where he thought he was going to play football until he was positioned in front of Larry Csonka and Floyd Little at a practice game and was flattened. Always resilient and practical, he looked around and realized that not only was it safer to go into the theater department, but there were girls there. And so, his show business career was born. He transferred to New York University's Film School, where Martin Scorsese was his instructor, and where he created his award-winning student film, "Ginkgo." After film school, he worked on Sesame Street shorts, commercials, and industrials in New York, and created his documentary "Earth Day," starring Rod Serling and Pete Seeger. He headed to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s and began a career that spanned almost 50 years. As he advanced from young production manager to executive producer, he worked on hundreds of television shows, including "Circus of the Stars," "People's Choice Awards," "People's Court," "Superior Court," "Vincent" with Leonard Nimoy, "John Denver and the Muppets," "Kid Songs," "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl," "Red Skelton's Funny Faces," "George Burns in Concert,"" Enchanted Musical Playhouse" with the Osmonds, "Straight to the Heart," "A Talent for Murder" with Sir Lawrence Olivier and Angela Lansbury, and many, many others. Jim was a member of the Producers Guild of America. He was the executive vice president of Cable and Syndication at Centerpoint Productions, where he worked for Tom Tannenbaum with production partners Guber-Peters, Blake Edwards, and Grasso-Jacobson. He won an ACE award in 1983 for "Sweeney Todd," which won seven Emmys. In the early 2000s, he produced three two-hour specials to promote the opening of Universal's theme park in Osaka. The specials featured top Japanese television stars and Universal stars Meryl Streep, Gene Hackman and Steven Spielberg. After retiring, he co-founded The Great Beer Company, brewers of the award-winning Hollywood Blonde. He was a practicing Buddhist, worked on the campaign to elect Obama, and volunteered with an organization for troubled teens. Jim loved many things--walking his dogs at his beach house in Ventura, CA, watching Pittsburgh Steeler games, going to the symphony and Hollywood Bowl with his wife, talking to his father, and bragging about his children and grandchildren. His life was marked by an electric spirit, an extraordinary ability to persevere, a goofy sense of humor, a quest for spiritual knowledge, and a generous soul. He is remembered by friends and admirers as someone who lifted them up when they needed it, and encouraged them to be their best and truest selves. In addition to his wife, Jim is survived by his father, James H. Rich, of Pittsburgh, PA; his son, Nicholas James Rich, and daughter-in-law, Cara Delizia Rich, of Tarzana, CA; his daughter, Kit Rich, of Santa Monica, CA; three grandsons, Hunter Rich, Lucas Rich, and Crosby Rich; his sister, Kathryn Rich Sherman of Pittsburgh, PA; and numerous brothers/sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins. His memorial will be held in Tarzana, CA on March 3, 2018 from noon to 4:00. Family members will commit his ashes to the sea the following day. In lieu of flowers, please donate to his favorite charity, "No Kid Hungry," (https://www.nokidhungry.org/)the campaign of the national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, 2018
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