Harriet Halpern Beck, an entertainment attorney who specialized in children’s programming during her long career, died Friday, Nov. 26 after a long illness. She was 80.
As the VP of business affairs at Ruby Spears Productions in the 1980s, she played a pivotal role in shaping the Saturday morning children’s television universe, helping to build the company into one of the main suppliers of network animated content, including Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mr. T, Rambo, Punky Brewster, Dragon’s Lair and Rubik, the Amazing Cube.
Beck began her career in show business in 1975 as a legal secretary for producer Dino DeLaurentis. She enrolled in law school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, attending at night while working and raising her son as a single mother.
During her time as a legal secretary and student, she worked for various firms that specialized in the music business, handling clients that included Fleetwood Mac. She also had the opportunity to do substantial research regarding rights and usage in the then-fledgling home video business.
She joined Filmways after her 1980 graduation, then joined Ruby Spears Productions.
Later in the 1980s, she worked on titles including The Care Bears, the animated Beetlejuice series, and an updated Beanie and Cecil. She also played an integral role in consummating the business deal for John Kricfalusi’s The Ren and Stimpy Show.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Beck worked for Group W. Cable and the Hallmark Channel and maintained a client roster of countless writers, producers, musicians, animators and designers.
For the last 10 years, Beck represented George Schlatter and George Schlatter Productions, as well as several independent producers, including Butcher Bird Studios, Dean Butler at Legacy Documentaries, agent and producer Steven Glick, and poster artist, and childhood friend David Edward Byrd.
Beck is survived by her son, creative executive Jordan Beck, daughter-in-law Shawna Beck, and grandchildren Henry and Ben.
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