Died May 29, 2012.
Jim Paratore, the man who co-founded TMZ and produced Ellen, Lopez Tonight and Extra, has died. Paratore was biking in France when he suffered from an apparent heart attack, TMZ reports. He was 58 years old.
Paratore was the president of Warner’s Telepictures from 1992-2006. Throughout his career, he was behind a number of successful shows, including The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Bachelor, The People’s Court and Judge Mathis. In 2006, he co-founded TMZ with Harvey Levin.
Paratore was an undeniable force with a heavy influence in television. He championed the cause of Ellen DeGeneres, who was considered unemployable after coming out as a lesbian, literally travelling from station to station across the U.S. to convince networks that she was worth the risk, according to TMZ.
In response to his death, DeGeneres tweeted, “My friend, producer and champion Jim Paratore died today. He gave me a chance when no one else would. I love you, Jim.”
Mike Fleiss, the mastermind behind the hugely successful Bachelor franchise, also gave credit to Paratore, tweeting, “Jim Paratore, who died today, is the main reason the show is on the air. I am devastated.”
Paratore also owned his own production company, the Warner Brothers TV Group-based paraMedia. His latest project, a game show called Let’s Ask America, was announced last week.
He is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique.