Longtime international distribution executive Tony Themistocleous passed away on Friday April 3 in London, Deadline has learned. He was 89. His family as well as former UIP colleagues confirmed the news. A cause of death was not specified, though his nephew, Redo Farah Themistocleous, a distributor and former Warner Bros exec based in Colombia, said coronavirus had been suspected and that his uncle was tested for COVID-19, but died before the results were processed.
Affectionately known as Tony T, the well-liked and admired Themistocleous retired in 1998 from his last industry post as Senior Vice President of Sales for EMEA at UIP. He began his career working for Fox in Egypt in the 1950s, his nephew told us. In the 1960s, he segued to an independent company that acted as a distributor for United Artists in the same market.
Then in 1969, he transitioned to Universal in London and later was Head of Sales Control at Cinema International Corporation, or CIC which was a forerunner of UIP, and worked with films from Universal, Paramount and MGM. When MGM and United Artists merged in 1981, it led to a reorganization of CIC thus forming United International Pictures. Themistocleous became UIP’s VP of Sales for Latin America, and was based in Brazil. A few years later, he returned to London, ultimately becoming Senior Vice President of Sales EMEA until his retirement, though he continued to do some outside consulting work.
Said one former colleague, “He was a fluent linguist. You name the language, and he could speak it. No matter who phoned him, he could speak in their native language. He was extremely popular with all the territories. He was really a film man, he loved the product.”