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Stephen Roberts

1938 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Stephen Roberts Obituary
July 5, 1938 - May 14, 2017 Stephen Roberts ("Steve"), 78, passed away with his family around him on May 14, 2017 at his home in Newport Beach, CA. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years Karen (Forshay), his two daughters Patricia Espley-Jones and Kathryn Schultz and their husbands Graham and Roger, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Steve was a former 20th Century Fox executive and pioneer of the home video and pay-per-view industries. He was born in Manhattan, NY, and began his career in 1958 at Columbia Pictures until he moved to the international sales division of Fox. He rose through the ranks and became President of two Fox units: International Theaters Division and Licensing Corporation, and served as President of Fox's Telecommunications Division and Chairman of Fox Video. While overseeing Fox's telecommunications operations, he directed the studio's rapid and early expansion into home video and pay-per-view television. At the age of 43, he oversaw the 1982 merger between 20th Century Fox and CBS that created CBS/Fox Video. Steve then served as President of CBS/Fox until 1985 when he founded and served as CEO of The S. Roberts Co., a consulting firm serving the entertainment industry. In 1989, he co-founded R&G Communications Inc. who acquired the North American rights to New World Pictures Video Library. Steve then became Chairman of Avail Media on Demand, a leading Video on Demand programming aggregator serving both telephone companies and cable TV systems from 2000 to 2009. Steve received numerous prestigious awards and recognitions, including the International Tape Association's Pioneer Award for his contributions to the entry of major motion picture studios into the home video market, and the Billboard Magazine Award for being the first supplier to issue motion picture releases for the home video market during their theatrical release. In 1996, he was inducted into the Video Hall of Fame. Steve served on the Board of the Motion Picture Association of America, 20th Century Fox and CBS/Fox. He was a member of the highly-regarded Young Presidents' Organization, World Presidents' Organization, American Film Institute, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Father Martin's Ashley, a non-profit alcoholism and drug addiction treatment center. He was a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program. A private funeral service and burial will be held at the Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary, Corona del Mar, CA. The world is a better place because of Steve and he will be greatly missed by friends and family. Donations in memory of Steve can be made to the Stroke Program at Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, CA.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from May 18 to May 19, 2017
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