Ralph Baruch

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Ralph Baruch
Born Rudolph Maximilian Baruch
(1923-08-05)August 5, 1923
Frankfurt, Germany
Died March 3, 2016(2016-03-03) (aged 92)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation president and chief executive, Viacom
vice president, CBS
general manager, CBS Enterprises
Spouse(s) Elizabeth "Lilo" Bachrach (died 1959)
Jean Ursell de Mountford

Rudolph Maximilian "Ralph" Baruch (August 5, 1923 – March 3, 2016) was a CBS executive and the first president and chief executive of Viacom.

Early life

Baruch was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1923, but his family fled in the mid-1930s to Paris. His father returned to Germany, however, in 1938 to recruit spies for French counterintelligence services, and his name ended up on the Nazi most-wanted list. The Emergency Rescue Committee helped the family immigrate to New York City in 1940.[1]

Business career

Baruch was hired in 1943 as an engineer at Empire Broadcasting, and later as an ad salesman at New York's DuMont Network affiliate and with the Los Angeles Times's Consolidated Television Film Sales in the eastern United States.[1]

In 1954, Baruch became an account executive for CBS Films. He later became vice president of CBS and general manager of CBS Enterprises, the company's cable and television syndication division.[1]

Viacom

Viacom was spun off from CBS Films in 1971 amid new FCC rules forbidding television networks from owning syndication companies.[2]

Under the Viacom brand, Baruch started cable networks including Showtime and Lifetime (originally known as The Cable Health Network). He took the title of chairman of Viacom in 1983, and later acquired Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, which brought networks including MTV, Nickelodeon, The Movie Channel and VH1 into the portfolio.[1] He also was a co-founder of C-SPAN.[3]

Baruch played a leading role in getting Congress to pass the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, which deregulated the cable industry.[1]

In 1987, Sumner Redstone purchased Viacom and replaced Baruch as chairman, keeping him on only as a consultant.[1]

In 2006, Baruch was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.[3]

Personal life

Soon after coming to the United States, Baruch married 17-year-old Elizabeth "Lilo" Bachrach, who was also a refugee from Frankfurt. Bachrach died in 1959. Baruch later remarried to Jean Ursell de Mountford.[1]

Baruch was a former director and member of the executive committee of the National Cable Television Association; a founder of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; and a trustee of the Museum of Television and Radio and Lenox Hill Hospital. He was a co-founder, past chairman and chairman emeritus of the National Academy of Cable Programming, as well as past president of the International Radio and Television Society. He also served as vice chairman of Carnegie Hall from 1997 to 1999, and as a member of its executive committee.[3]

In addition to his Manhattan home, Baruch had a home in Bedford Hills, New York.[1]

In 2007, Baruch penned a memoir entitled Television Tightrope: How I Escaped Hitler, Survived CBS and Fathered Viacom.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Grimes, William (March 4, 2016). "Ralph Baruch, Who Shaped Viacom's Rise, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2016. 
  2. ^ "CBS transfers CATV to new public firm". Broadcasting: 48. July 27, 1970. 
  3. ^ a b c "Ralph M. Baruch: Founder and Former Chairman, Viacom International, 2006 Cable Hall of Fame". The Cable Center. Retrieved March 5, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Ralph Baruch, First Leader of Viacom, Dies at 92". Variety. March 5, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016. 

External links

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