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Subject: Ted Ashley, 80

Former Head of Warner Brothers
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Date Posted: August 30, 2002 6:27:15 EDT

Ted Ashley, whose tenure as the chairman of Warner Brothers saw the release of films as diverse as the goofy "Blazing Saddles" and the gritty "Dog Day Afternoon," died on Saturday at the New York Weill Cornell Center. He was 80 and lived in New York.

The funeral home said he died of natural causes.

Mr. Ashley ran Warner Brothers from 1969 to 1980. He was one of four men to be chairman since 1923, when the studio was founded by the four Warner brothers: Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack.

During his time as chairman, Warner Brothers' films included modern classics like "Klute," `A Clockwork Orange," "The Exorcist" and "All the President's Men." He also oversaw the production of television shows like "Alice," "Wonder Woman," "The Dukes of Hazard," "Welcome Back, Kotter" and "Chico and the Man."

In 1976, Mr. Ashley hired David L. Wolper to create what was then a new type of television programming: the miniseries. Under the Warner label, Mr. Wolper produced "Roots," "The Thorn Birds" and "North and South."

Mr. Ashley first became associated with Warner Communications in 1967, when Warner acquired his talent agency, the Ashley-Famous Agency. The son of a tailor, he was born in Brooklyn and studied accounting at the City College of New York after high school. His first job, at 15, was as an office boy at the William Morris talent agency.

After his retirement from Warner Brothers, Mr. Ashley occupied himself with his art collection and frequently sold pieces at auction. Among his paintings were pieces by Lger, Gris, Mir and Rothko. He owned sculptures by Brancusi, Matisse and Degas.

He is survived by his wife, Page; four daughters, Fran Dubin, Diane Ashley, Kim Balin and Ba-nhi Sinclair; and his brother Alfred.

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