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Old September 9 2008, 10:15 PM   #1
TrekToday
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Mel Harris Passes

Paramount executive Mel Harris, who helped to revitalize Star Trek with the launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987, is dead at the age of 65.

As reported by Variety, Harris, who spent twenty-five years in the top ranks of both Paramount and Sony Pictures Entertainment, passed away September 6th at the age of sixty-five at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Born in Kansas, Harris received a doctorate in mass communications from Ohio University in 1971. He served in Vietnam as a commander of a combat photography unit in the Army Signal Corps, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star. His broadcast career began as a radio announcer, after which he managed local television stations. In 1977, he joined Paramount.

Harris helped to popularize and modernize both the home video market and first-run syndication business, which included using satellite distribution to deliver shows to affiliates. He also convinced Paramount to offer low priced videos directly to customers in lieu of offering rentals to customers. Harris was also responsible for getting Star Trek: The Next Generation on the air.

A memorial service will be held for Harris on September 16th, at 10:30 A.M., at the El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana. Harris is survived by his wife, Ruth; a son Chad who is an executive at the Hallmark Channel; and two grandchildren.

To read more, head to the article located here. Further information on Harris can be found here.

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Old September 9 2008, 10:38 PM   #2
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Re: Mel Harris Passes

Was this the guy who insisted on Berman being second shirt on the show, to watch over GR?
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Old September 10 2008, 03:41 AM   #3
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Re: Mel Harris Passes

Rest In Peace Mr. Harris

He will be added to my Memorial site.

http://www.excalibur-nx-1707.com/mem..._the_scene.htm
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Old September 11 2008, 11:08 PM   #4
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Re: Mel Harris Passes

This is indeed sad news. RIP. Thank you for TNG, Mr Harris.
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Old September 12 2008, 01:21 AM   #5
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Re: Mel Harris Passes

Harris is the one person most responsible for "The Next Generation" in that he put all of the contracts and deals (including merchandising and foreign rights) together which gave Paramount the confidence to proceed. Investing an initial 36 million dollars in the first season of TNG was a huge investment in a syndicated series at the time. If Harris hadn't delivered as he did, TNG would have been one more of those stories about a Trek project that ultimately didn't happen.
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