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Jim Paratore

TMZ Founder

Dies at 58

5/29/2012 3:20 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Jim Paratore
-- the man who founded TMZ and created a slew of hit shows including "Ellen" and "Rosie" -- died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday during a bike trip in France.

Jim was President of Telepictures -- a division of Warner Bros. --  when he dreamed up the idea of getting into the digital business back in 2006.  Jim and Harvey developed the concept of TMZ ... and Jim sold it to the big wigs, which was no small feat.

Jim was a driving force behind and then was critical in creating the TMZ television show. 

Jim was a huge force in the TV business.  After Ellen DeGeneres came out, no one wanted to take a chance on her.  Jim recognized her great talent and literally went station to station across the country and convinced very nervous and reluctant general managers that they should take a chance on her -- that she was a talent who could connect with and touch everyone ... and Jim was right.

Jim was a triple threat -- an amazingly creative guy who never let convention get in the way of a good idea.  He was also a great producer who could execute the ideas that were in his head.  And he was the best salesman in the world -- Jim could convince anyone of anything.

His list of credits is endless.  On his watch, a slew of shows were produced, including "The People's Court," "The Bachelor," "Extra," "Judge Mathis"  and on and on.

He was also hilarious.

Jim is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique Paratore.

Everyone at TMZ was touched by Jim's brilliance and the loss is great and painful. 

Jim was 58.


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Sounds like a great guy who did a lot of great things. My best wishes to his family and friends. Rest in peace.

875 days ago

Rufus Greenjeans    

Too young. Rest in peace.

875 days ago

R.J. Johnson    

RIP - you were a production genius!

875 days ago


Wow, this is extremely sad, my condolences are with his family. Watch the show everyday, i'm sure the TMZ family is heartbroken.

875 days ago

Steve D    

Rest in Peace, Jim. You are gone way before your time, and you will be missed by many who's lives you touched.

875 days ago


So sad. Too young to be gone. RIP Jim

875 days ago


So sorry for your loss TMZ. We love you guys.
Love to his family RIP Jim

875 days ago

Flying Blind    

He must have been good to get someone to buy a show with Rosie as the host....................RIP.

875 days ago


Gone way to soon. Prayers to him, his family, friends and the TMZ staff. RIP Jim

875 days ago

Dita Wildflower    

So no tragic jokes, no insinuations and gossip about his life/death? Gotta say TMZ, to every other person you've posted about their death you've always made it a little ugly...but since you guys LIKE this man, know this man, respect this man, you keep it straight and serious? What's that all about....

875 days ago

R.J. Johnson    

RIP - You were a production genius!

875 days ago


Hurry and get the 911 call up TMZ. Oh I bet you don't do that when it's your buddy eh?

875 days ago


surprised that hollywood reporter had reported this before TMZ

875 days ago


Our thoughts go out to the TMZ family - what a sad thing to go through. Now if TMZ can just remember to report ALL deaths in this respectful manner...

875 days ago

Dita Wildflower    

So no pictures of the room he died in TMZ? I mean, since you felt ballsy enough to post Whitneys private photos or hell, even MJ's corpse, why don't you post this guys? Oh, that's right, because he's your buddy.

875 days ago
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