Richard “Dick” Allen Fox, the founder of the Fox Theatres chain and a former president of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners , died on July 24 in Boca Raton, Fla. at age 90.
Fox founded Reading, Pa-based Fox Theatres in 1957 with the Sinking Spring Drive-In, the “World’s Largest Cinemascope Screen,” and over the next 33 years grew the regional movie theater circuit to 25 locations, with over one-hundred screens and more than 1000 employees.
At its peak, Fox Theatres was one of the largest independently-owned movie theater companies in the US. Fox was considered a pioneer in the industry, bringing modern suburban movie theaters to markets throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Florida.
In 1984, Fox was elected president of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), the industry trade association representing movie theater owners from across the country. He was a leader in theatrical exhibition at a time when the industry wrestled with existential issues ranging from contentious trade practices to competition from new technologies. He was the last volunteer president of NATO.
Fox was born on January 5, 1929, in Buffalo, NY, to the late Harry Fox and Freda Morgan Fox. After attending the University of Buffalo, he served in the US Army as a Staff Sergeant.
He was a former board member of the Jewish Federation of Reading, PA, B’nai B’rith, Variety Club and the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Marcia Spokane Fox; son Donald Fox; daughter Sheryl Fox Myerson; son Herrick “Rick” Fox; sister Lee Redstone; and his former wife, Helen Fox. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, three stepchildren, and seven step-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son Howard, who died in 1978.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Howard Fox Memorial Law Scholarship Fund at the Berks County Community Foundation, bccf.org.