Peter Grad, whose career as a TV executive included running MTM Studios and who later co-founded the A Night at Sardi’s fundraiser, died August 1 of a heart attack while vacationing in Vail, CO. He was 75.
Born March 22, 1940 in Newark, NJ, Grad tried his hand at many vocations — including engineering, finance, acting and producing — before he found his calling as a television executive. He began his career at Paramount Television before moving to 20th Century Fox Television and also was President of MTM Studios. LA Law, The Fall Guy, Mr. Belvedere and Evening Shade were among the shows he helped to develop.
After retiring, Grad became a devoted fundraiser for research into and public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease; his father-in-law, Broadway book writer Abe Burrows (Guys And Dolls; How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying) died from the disease. Grad and his wife Laurie, Abe Burrows’ daughter, co-founded and co-chaired the annual A Night at Sardi’s fundraiser, which recognizes researchers, doctors, caregivers and families affected by Alzheimer’s. The event, which has generated $27 million in donations to the Alzheimer’s Association over the past 23 years, has garnered the support of a host of stage, TV and film stars who turn out to perform songs from Broadway musicals, and legendary composers.
Along with his wife of 47 years, Grad is survived by his son, Nicholas, President of Original Programming and Production at FX Networks; daughter-in-law, Carolyn Bernstein, EVP at Endemol Shine Studios; sister Susan Grad Baerwald, and her husband Paul, who was Grad’s oldest friend; grandchildren Lucas and Georgia; and brother-in-law James Burrows, the veteran TV director.
A memorial celebration will take place in mid-August. Contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual A Night At Sardi’s fundraiser.