John Hamlin, who worked as an executive or consultant on 45 Oscar telecasts at NBC and then ABC, died on Jan. 15 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 92.
Hamlin was on a steady decline following his hospitalization for severe dehydration from stomach flu, his family announced.
Hamlin worked with many esteemed individuals like Bob Hope, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. He also entertained U.S. presidents for the special “A Gala for the President at Ford’s Theatre.”
“There is no network executive ever in the history of television that I feel was as good and as passionate as he was,” longtime friend Jeff Margolis, who directed the Oscars and other shows Hamlin worked on, said in a statement provided by the family. “He loved television.”
“He was extremely unique as a television executive because he was also a full-fledged producer,” added Gary Pudney, former ABC senior VP of special projects and senior executive in charge of specials and talent. “He knew more about producing than the producers did.”
Born John Frederick Hamlin Jr. in Manhattan, New York, Hamlin had a passion for music and entertainment at a young age. When he was 22, he traveled across the U.S. as a Jerome H. Cargill Company director of a Follies revue, where he put on a benefit show cast with locals at each town.
In 1996, Hamlin moved to California to work in the TV department at advertising agency Benton and Bowles, helping develop “The Andy Griffith Show” and other programs. Later in his career, Hamlin oversaw specials and variety programming at NBC and then for decades at ABC, where he eventually became senior vice president of variety and event specials.
Other specials he played a part in include “Live Aid,” “The Emmy Awards” and “The Silver Jubilee Royal Variety Gala for Queen Elizabeth II,” among others.
Hamlin is survived by two daughters, a son, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son and daughter.
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