Entertainment & Arts

US TV producer Halmi dies aged 90

Robert Halmi Sr Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Robert Halmi Sr has been called the last great US television impresario

Prolific US television producer Robert Halmi Sr, whose work won dozens of Emmy Awards, has died at his New York home aged 90.

Halmi, who was born in Hungary, began his career in the US as a photographer before turning his hand to TV.

His many productions included Gypsy starring Bette Midler, Gulliver's Travels and Alice in Wonderland.

Halmi Sr worked with his son Robert Halmi Jr, with the pair making a number of big budget productions in the 1990s.

In 1994, they produced an epic TV remake of Civil War classic Gone With The Wind, which Halmi Sr dubbed "an eight-hour study in American history".

Numerous projects were headed up by big stars and landed impressive ratings, including The Lion in Winter which starred Glenn Close and was screened in 2004.

Halmi began his career in television in the early 1960s and continued to make programmes well into his senior years, including Neverland, based on the story of Peter Pan in 2011, and a remake of Treasure Island a year later.

Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Glenn Close starred in Halmi's 2004 production of The Lion in Winter

He was also executive producer on the 13-part Olympus mini-series, which has yet to be completed and is due to air next year on the Syfy channel.

In 1993, Halmi said that TV production had turned into a business populated by "money people", saying: "I'm somebody with pretty good taste who goes one step further."

"With the creative process, everything has to be nurtured. I know on every project, every day, where it stands dollars-and-cents-wise, but I also know if someone has a cold," he added.

Aside from numerous prizes for his productions, Halmi was honoured with a prestigious Peabody Award in 1999 for his personal contribution to the business.

He was hailed as "perhaps the last of the great network television impresarios".

Before emigrating to the US, Halmi was twice captured during the Second World War in his native Hungary, once by the Nazis and again by the Soviets while spying on behalf of the Americans.

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