Roger Mayer, a philanthropist and former studio executive who served as the chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Fund for eight years, died Tuesday, the MPTF said today. He was 89.
A Yale Law School grad and WWII Army vet, Mayer started his entertainment industry career as an attorney for Columbia Pictures in 1952. After nine years with the studio, during which time he became a general studio executive, he moved to MGM, where he spent 25 years in a variety of positions, ultimately becoming SVP Administration and President of MGM Laboratories Inc. From 1986 until he retired in 2005, Mayer served as President and and COO of Turner Entertainment.
In addition to serving on the MPTF board, the New York City native also was involved with preserving the history of American film. He served as chairman of the National Film Preservation Foundation and was a member of the Library Of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board. He was also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, serving in a variety of positions. He remained active in these organizations until his death.
He received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 2005 Academy Awards and won an Emmy for executive producing the 2004 PBS documentary Judy Garland: By Myself.
Mayer is survived by his wife of 62 years, Pauline; their daughter and son; and his two grandchildren. The family has requested that donations be sent to the Motion Picture and Television Fund or the National Film Preservation Foundation.