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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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Pierce Aero One    

Sorry for your loss. I read what he did for Ellen Degeneres, when nobody else would. He sounded like a Noble guy.

839 days ago


My condolences to Jim Paratore's family and friends. May fond memories of him forever dwell within your hearts. May he rest in peace.

839 days ago


There are probably no jokes about his death because he's one of few rich / famous people who died of natural causes that weren't drug and or alcohol related. So far he seems to be a stand up guy who handled his responsibilities, unlike the other people you all listed.

839 days ago


He was just too young. I'm so sorry for your loss; he seems to have touched many lives. May he Rest In Peace!

839 days ago


my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.
may your memories bring you comfort.

839 days ago


Praying for strength for his family and friends through this difficult time. What a legacy he has - diverse entertainment for millions of people. RIP, Mr. Paratore.

839 days ago

bring back recent posts    

...just wanted too comment on all the valid points many peeps have stated about this post...and it being respectful....( most have a twist)...and mentioning...when is the 911 call coming...GOOD POINT....Hope this is a lesson too the people who word the threads here...just saying..and...respect too his family at this terrible time...he seems too have been very accomplished..sad when anyone passes away..especially when your not expecting it...

839 days ago


sad..but hey, TMZ (harvey) are you planning to stalk his family while they're grieving, like you do with celebs? Do you plan on stalking his funeral, taking pictures of him in his casket and posting them all over this site, like you do for every other celeb. Where are the photos of this man sick, are you planning to show photos of where he actually died, had the heart attack - his 'death bed'..anyone get photos of him having a heart attack. Guess it's different when it hits home for all of you who sit in that TMZ gossip room. otherwise, every one else is just tabloid gossip for all of you who you make money off of. Pathetic.

839 days ago


Don't care. Boo hoo. On to the next.

839 days ago


This is such sad news. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and everyone who loved and respected him.

839 days ago


I'm so, so sorry for his family and all the many people that he's helped and life's that were touched so deeply by him. RIP

839 days ago

Mary Bailey    

So you guys only do classy, respectful and well-written obits when one of your own dies? At least this is the one time you don't overdo it with the ellipses and put up some unflattering photo.

839 days ago


RIP Jim. My best wishes too his family and friends.

839 days ago

Jenny Jones    

Jim gave me a chance and put me on TV with my own talk show and we worked together for 12 years. By believing in me, he changed my life. He was such a great guy... fun to know and a real pro to work with. Mine is just one of many shows that existed only because of him. My condolences to his family.

839 days ago


This guy was the real deal. Straight forward and smart. Not only will he be missed on the landscape, but his kind will be lacking. I pray for his family. You had a great life Jim which is why you will live on with so many.

839 days ago
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