Jim Paratore, the man who founded TMZ, suffered a heart attack during a bike trip in France on Tuesday and passed away. Paratore was 58.
In addition to creating TMZ, Paratore was also behind shows like “Rosie,” “Ellen,” and “Judge Mathis.”
TMZ reports that “Jim was a huge force in the TV business.” Thanks to him, stations across the country agreed to carry Ellen Degeneres’ show after she came out of the closet. Ellen’s show was eventually cancelled when ratings dropped but Paratore convinced several stations to give the young comedian a chance.
Ellen wrote on Twitter:
“My friend, producer and champion Jim Paratore died today. He gave me a chance when no one else would. I love you, Jim.”
Paratore was the president of Telepictures, a division of Warner Bros., and helped create shows like “Extra,” “The People’s Court,” and “Celebrity Justice.”
“Jim was a triple threat — an amazingly creative guy who never let convention get in the way of a good idea. He was also a great producer who could execute the ideas that were in his head. And he was the best salesman in the world — Jim could convince anyone of anything.”
Paratore is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique Paratore.