Martin Starger Dies at 92, Influential Shaper of TV and Movies

Martin Starger Dies at 92, Influential Shaper of TV and Movies

The latest news has come out that the great entertainment businessman and producer is no more between us. Martin Starger (May 8, 1932-May 31, 2024) was a great American Producer and entertainment businessman and producer. He was a senior executive at ABC Entertainment ( a wing of the American Broadcasting Company) in 1970, he helped bring the “Happy Days,” “Roots,” “Rich Man,” “Poor Man” and other small screen shows and the network nearly to the brink of No. 1 in prime time before turning to produce movies.

Starger was born in the Bronx, New York City in 1932. He made his way into the films as the executive producer of Robert Altman’s film was “Nashville” in 1975 before becoming tied to the film production department of Lew Grade ITC Entertainment. Working with the grade, he became the president of  Associated Film Distribution, the distributor of ITC’s films which made him both successful in film production and the bombs that destroyed the company. 

Most notably Martin Starger dies at 92, on May 31 at his home in Los Angeles, he was 92. His death was confirmed by the niece, Liene Stranger, a casting director.

He joined ABC in the mid-1960s and rose to positions of increased importance, culminating in his promotion to president of ABC Entertainment in 1972.

Mr. Starger’s time at ABC was represented by the network’s long struggle to break out of last place in prime time, behind CBS and NBC, in what was then a three-network universe. In 1974, he added 12 new series to ABC’s schedule to replace unsuccessful ones.

His other executives balanced middlebrow programs, including “Marcus Welby, M.D.” and “The Six Million Dollar Man,” with Tv films like “The Missiles of October” (1974),

“Roots” ran for eight consecutive nights in 1977, although it did not air until after Mr. Stranger had left ABC was a colossal ratings hit and won nine Emmys Awards.

After three years as the president of ABC Entertainment, Mr. Starger left in 1975 to start his own production company, with a deal to create programs exclusively for the network.

“Fred Silverman was responsible for ABC’s promotion to the top place in prime time for the 1976-77 Season. Seven top shows of 10 top-rate shows that season were on ABC, including “Happy Days,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Baretta,” holdovers from Mr. Strangers’ time there.

Martin Starger was born on May 8, 1932, in the Bronx. His father, Isidore was a worker and his mother Rose Starger managed the household. Starger after completing his graduation from the City College of New York in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in motion picture techniques, was drafted into the Army. He spent his two years in the motion picture division of the signal crops; for some of that time, he was based where he wrote, directed, and edited films.

After his discharge, he joined the advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn 

(now known as BBDO) as an assistant projectionist, at when the agency produced television shows. He later became an account executive and vice president.

It was also nominated for five Oscars and won for the best original song, “ I’m Easy”.

He also produced several Broadway shows, including three in the 1980s, he closed after 16 performances in 1981 but became a hit when it was revived on Broadway last year.

Mr. Martin Starger’s marriage to Judith Newburg ended in divorce in 1975 after eight years. No immediate family member survived.

ABC showed only a few episodes through 1981. And Mr. Starger moved on. Two of the films he produced, “Red Flag: The Ultimat game,” a military drama, and “The Last Unicorn,” an animated fable, would soon be released.

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