John Hamlin, who contributed to 45 broadcasts of the Academy Awards as an executive and consultant, died on Jan. 15, 2024 at a family home in Pacific Palisades. Hamlin was 92. He also worked as a producer of multiple TV specials, including the American Music Awards.
News of Hamlin’s death was shared by his family on Legacy.com. The obituary noted that the television executive died after he was hospitalized for severe dehydration following a bout with the stomach flu.
“He didn’t have a smartphone, computer or email, but he had decades-worth of insight and experience,” the obituary reads.
Hamlin worked “with everyone, from Bob Hope to Elvis to Michael Jackson and entertained U.S. presidents for the special ‘A Gala for the President at Ford’s Theatre,'” the remembrance continued. “He was also known for his stories about behind-the-scenes antics from popular TV shows, like playing baseball with Ron Howard on the set of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ or meeting Goldie Hawn before she was cast on ‘Laugh-In.'”
Hamlin’s friend and colleague Jeff Margolis said, “There is no network executive ever in the history of television that I feel was as good and as passionate as he was. He loved television.”
Margolis added, “He was brutally honest. But he was a good man and a hardworking man and loved his job, loved his family [and] talked about his family all the time.”
Gary Pudney, former ABC senior VP of special projects and senior executive in charge of specials and talent, said of Hamlin, “He was extremely unique as a television executive because he was also a full-fledged producer.”
Pudney added that Hamlin had a special skill with artists who might be difficult at times. For example, “Kanye West, who was known for his brusque behavior, caved into John,” he said. “I think John scared him.”
Hamlin was born in Manhattan, New York, on March 23, 1931. He was passionate about the entertainment industry from an early age. One of his earliest jobs was on board a cruise ship giving dancing lessons. By the age of 22, he was traveling the U.S. and putting on local shows as a Jerome H. Cargill Company director of a Follies revue.
Hamlin moved to California in 1966 and worked at an advertising agency. He eventually moved to NBC, where he was in charge of specials and variety programming. Hamlin found a home at ABC for decades and moved up to the role of vice president of variety and event specials.
According to his obituary, Hamlin also worked on multiple major television specials. These include “Live Aid,” “The Silver Jubilee Royal Variety Gala for Queen Elizabeth II,” the American Music Awards and specials honoring Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Muhammad Ali.
Hamlin had a son and daughter who died previously. He is survived by two daughters, a son, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Correction: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect photo and misstated which awards shows he had worked on. It has been corrected and TheWrap regrets the error.
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