Mel Harris PassesBy T'Bonz
September 9, 2008 - 9:15 PM
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.