The Info List - Lew Grade

Lew Grade, Baron Grade, OStJ, KC*SS (25 December 1906 – 13 December 1998), born Louis Winogradsky,[4] was a Ukrainian-born British media proprietor and impresario. Originally a dancer, and later a talent agent, Grade's interest in television production began in 1954 when, in partnership, he successfully bid for franchises in the newly created ITV network, which led to the creation of Associated Television
Associated Television
(ATV). Having worked for a time in the United States, he was aware of the potential for the sale of television programming to American networks, and a subsidiary, the Incorporated Television Company (ITC; commonly known as ITC Entertainment) was formed with this specific objective in mind. Grade had some success in this field with such series as Gerry Anderson's various Supermarionation
series such as Thunderbirds, Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner, and Jim Henson's The Muppet Show. Later, Grade invested in film production, but several expensive box office failures caused him to lose control of ITC, and ultimately resulted in the disestablishment of ATV after it lost its ITV franchise.[5]


1 Early life

1.1 Early professional life

2 Media career

2.1 Television: 1954–62 2.2 Television: 1962–68 2.3 Later television productions 2.4 Film 2.5 Later years

3 Honours 4 Death 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Early life[edit] Grade was born in Tokmak, Taurida Governorate, Russian Empire
Russian Empire
to Isaak and Olga Winogradsky.[6] In 1912, when Grade was six, the Jewish family emigrated to escape Cossack
violence and anti-Semitism, from Odessa
via Berlin
to Brick Lane
Brick Lane
in Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green
in the East End of London.[1][7] Isaak worked as a trouser-presser[1] while his three sons (Grade and his younger brothers, Bernard (later Bernard Delfont) and Leslie) attended the Rochelle Street Elementary School near Shoreditch, where Yiddish
was spoken by 90% of the pupils. For two years the Winogradskys lived in rented rooms at the north end of Brick Lane, before moving to the nearby Boundary Estate.[8] Early professional life[edit] At the age of 15, Grade became an agent for a clothing company, and shortly afterwards started his own business. In 1926, he was declared Charleston Champion of the World at a dancing competition at the Royal Albert Hall.[6] Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire
was one of the judges.[5] Grade subsequently became a professional dancer going by the name Louis Grad; this form came from a Paris reporter's typing error that Grade liked and decided to keep.[9] Decades later, the then octogenarian Lord Grade once danced the Charleston at a party Arthur Ochs Sulzberger gave in New York.[10] Signed as a dancer by Joe Collins (father of Jackie and Joan Collins) in 1931,[11] around 1934, Grade went into partnership with him and became a talent agent in their company Collins & Grade. Among their earliest clients were the harmonica player Larry Adler
Larry Adler
and the jazz group Quintet of the Hot Club of France.[12] Following the beginning of the Second World War
Second World War
in 1939, Grade became involved in arranging entertainment for soldiers in Harrogate,[9] and later joined the British Army. He was discharged after two years when an old problem with swelling of the knees, which had earlier ended his dancing career, recurred.[12] In 1945, the arrangement with Collins having been terminated, Grade formed a partnership with his brother Leslie (Lew and Leslie Grade Ltd., or the Grade Organisation). That year, the brothers traveled in the United States, where they developed their entertainment interests. His connections included, among others, Bob Hope
Bob Hope
and Judy Garland, who performed in Britain for the first time.[12] The brothers became the main bookers of artists for the London
Palladium in 1948, then managed by Val Parnell for the Moss Empires Group owned by the family of Prince Littler.[13] Media career[edit] Television: 1954–62[edit] In 1954, Grade was contacted by the manager of singer Jo Stafford, Mike Nidorf,[14] who notified him of an advertisement in The Times inviting franchise bids for the new, commercial ITV network. Assembling a consortium that included impresarios Val Parnell and Prince Littler, the Incorporated Television Programme Company (ITP), which soon changed its name to Incorporated Television Company (ITC; also known as ITC Entertainment), was formed. ITC's bid to the Independent Television Authority (ITA) was rejected on the grounds of its conflict of interest from its prominence and involvement in artist management.[citation needed] The Associated Broadcasting Development Company (ABD) had gained ITA approval for both the London
weekend and Midlands weekday contracts, but was undercapitalised; Grade's consortium joined with the ABD to form what became Associated Television
Associated Television
(ATV). Reflecting his background in variety, Grade's favourite show[15] and a success for the new company was Sunday Night at the London
Palladium (1955–67, 1973–74), one of the most popular programmes on British television in its day. Grade did not avoid the other end of the cultural spectrum, and from 1958 Sir Kenneth Clark
Kenneth Clark
began to talk about the history of art on television.[16] Meanwhile, Grade committed the funds for what would become the first trans-Atlantic success of the ITP subsidiary: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955–60), commissioned by UK-based American producer Hannah Weinstein. ITC became a wholly owned ATV subsidiary in 1957,[17] That same year ATV established a music publishing division with ATV Music and gained a half interest in Pye Records in 1959,[18] later Pye became a wholly owned subsidiary. Television: 1962–68[edit] Grade was deputy managing director of ATV under Val Parnell until 1962, when he became managing director having contrived to have the board oust Parnell.[13] Grade soon decided that the Midlands deserved its own regular soap opera as a rival to Coronation Street. Crossroads, much derided but ultimately a serious challenge to Granada's series in the ratings, began its initial quarter century run in November 1964.[19] ITC's success continued and had many internationally successful TV series, leading Howard Thomas, managing director of the Associated British Corporation (ABC), to complain that Grade distributed programming for "Birmingham, Alabama, rather than Birmingham, England".[20] These series included The Saint (1962–69), which was sold to over 80 countries,[21] and two featuring Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man
Danger Man
(1960–68) and The Prisoner
The Prisoner
(1967–68). These series, exclusively thrillers, were normally used as summer replacements for American-made programmes until the mid-1960s.[22] While many of Grade's series used American actors in lead roles ( The Baron
The Baron
and Man in a Suitcase, for example) it was those series which used an exclusively British cast, such as The Saint (and The Avengers, made by another ITV contractor), which were more successful in the United States.[23] In 1962, AP Films
AP Films
became a subsidiary of ITC. Co-founded by Gerry Anderson, AP Films
AP Films
produced the children's marionette puppet ("Supermarionation") series during the 1960s, Thunderbirds (1965–66), and (as Century 21), Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967–68). After a screening of the pilot for Thunderbirds ("Trapped in the Sky", 1964), Grade insisted that the episodes be lengthened to fill a one-hour slot.[24] Unusually for children's television series, these colour programmes were generously budgeted for the time (Grade paid £22,000 per episode), and has been successfully repeated internationally.[25] In 1966, Grade's companies were re-organised again to form the Associated Communications Corporation
Associated Communications Corporation
(ACC). That year, The Sunday Times investigated the interconnected nature of the companies controlled by Grade and his two brothers, Bernard Delfont
Bernard Delfont
and Leslie Grade. Their firms, effectively amounting to a "cartel", were agents for most of the major talents in acting as well as entertainment and controlled theatres in both London
and the rest of the UK and ATV was a major provider of televised entertainment.[15] Later television productions[edit] The following year, ATV lost its London
franchise to what would become London
Weekend Television (LWT);[26] at the same time, however, ATV's Midlands franchise was expanded to run throughout the week from July 1968. Through ATV Music, Grade acquired Northern Songs, gaining control of the Lennon–McCartney
song catalogue.[27] Foreign sales remained strong for a time (valued at $30 million in 1970)[28] and the ACC received the Queen's Awards for Export in both 1967 and 1969. Some of the 1970s distributions performed poorly: these included The Julie Andrews Hour (1972–1973), which aired for only one season on the ABC Television Network
ABC Television Network
in the United States. This received positive reviews and seven Emmy Awards, including the title Best Variety Series. Neither action shows The Protectors
The Protectors
(1972–74) and The Persuaders!
The Persuaders!
(1971–72),[17] nor the live action science fiction shows UFO (1969–71) and Space: 1999 (1975–77) were notably successful. After Space: 1999, Gerry Anderson
Gerry Anderson
made no new series for ITC, but maintained a connection with Grade until Grade lost control of his companies in 1982. In the mid-1970s Grade approached American puppeteer Jim Henson, who was in need of assistance for his latest TV project. Henson wanted to create a new variety show starring his Muppet characters, but had been dismissed by American networks on account of his contributions to children's programmes such as Sesame Street
Sesame Street
(from 1969).[citation needed] CBS
came close to agreeing to broadcast The Muppet Show, but only if it was during a syndicated block of its programming. After watching one of Henson's pilots and recalling a special made in one of his studios Grade allowed Henson to realise his project in Britain (the series was recorded at ATV's Elstree
Studios) and distributed internationally by ITC. Grade's action was instrumental in bringing The Muppet Show
The Muppet Show
to the screen in 1976 and ensuring its success.[citation needed] Grade's other accomplishments in TV included the mini-series Jesus of Nazareth (1977), which was successfully sold to the American market and secured a record-breaking $12 million in revenue. Several years in preparation, the deal with the Italian broadcaster RAI
and director Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
was announced in August 1974.[29] Grade promoted "quality" productions on ATV as a challenge to the BBC
— for example, dedicating a whole evening to a live broadcast of Tosca, starring Maria Callas, from La Scala
La Scala
opera house in Milan, Italy.[30] Film[edit] Grade approached Blake Edwards
Blake Edwards
to revive the Pink Panther franchise as a TV series, an option Edwards was not keen on,[31] but he did work on developing scripts. Eventually, he persuaded Grade to finance the property as a feature film project with he and Peter Sellers
Peter Sellers
waiving their fees in return for a profit-sharing arrangement.[32] Both men's careers had not been prospering for a few years.[33] Only Grade's second big budget feature,[13] ITC produced the eventual film The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), while United Artists
United Artists
(UA), who had earlier rejected the project themselves, gained distribution rights and a 5% share of the profits.[34] Distribution in other countries was undertaken by ITC. The Return of the Pink Panther
The Return of the Pink Panther
was a commercially successful release.[13] It also prompted Grade to move into the film industry, where he had success with Farewell My Lovely (1975).[35] Other films of the period made with Grade's involvement include the co-releases The Boys From Brazil (1978) with 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
and Movie Movie
Movie Movie
(also 1978) with Warner Brothers. He was a producer on the Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
films Autumn Sonata (1978) and From the Life of the Marionettes
From the Life of the Marionettes
(1980). One domestic British film made by the ITC subsidiary Black Lion Films, The Long Good Friday (1980) was purchased and released by HandMade Films after Grade and his company had effectively disowned it, for in Grade's reputed opinion, seeming to be sympathetic to the IRA.[36] Only HandMade's second release, their first success, Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), was originally to have been made by EMI Films, but after company head Bernard Delfont, Grade's brother, read the script the financing was abruptly withdrawn.[37] Grade's backing of an expensive "all-star" flop was to prove decisive. Of Raise the Titanic (1980), an adaptation of the novel by Clive Cussler, Grade himself observed that "It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic".[6][17] The film was panned by critics and, after costing $36 million, returned only $8 million in rentals.[38] This and other expensive box office failures – including Saturn 3 (1980) and The Legend of the Lone Ranger
The Legend of the Lone Ranger
(1981) – marked the end of Grade's involvement in major film production.[citation needed] Despite this, several of the most critically acclaimed films produced by Grade were released after the failure of Raise the Titanic: these included On Golden Pond (1981) and Sophie's Choice (1982), both winners of Academy Awards, as well as The Dark Crystal
The Dark Crystal
(1982), which was Jim Henson's final project created in association with ITC.[30] Later years[edit] In 1980, Grade's standing in the mass media industry was damaged by three events: Henson's decision to end The Muppet Show
The Muppet Show
after five years, the poor reception to Raise the Titanic, and a decision that, effective from 1 January 1982, ATV Midlands
ATV Midlands
would be permitted to keep its licence only on the condition that it terminate its association with Grade and ITC (ultimately leading to its re-branding as Central Television). Grade resigned his position in the company while it underwent a series of partnerships and mergers. In 1982, he lost control of ACC to Robert Holmes à Court, who dismissed him and all his staff.[5] Grade was brought in by American producer Norman Lear
Norman Lear
in June 1982 to head the London
division of Embassy Communications International involved in the production and distribution of films and television programmes.[39] Subsequently he became a producer of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Starlight Express.[40] After Coca-Cola had bought Embassy, he became the head of a new venture, the Grade Company in 1985, and was elected a vice-president of the Loews Group chain of cinemas in the United States.[6][41] The Grade Company produced adaptations for television of works by novelist Dame Barbara Cartland; he owned the rights to 450 of her romances.[38] By the mid-1990s, Grade had returned to ITC to head the company one final time until his death in 1998. Grade was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute
Rothermere American Institute
at the University of Oxford.[citation needed] Honours[edit] Knighted in 1969,[42] Grade was created a life peer — Baron Grade, of Elstree
in the County of Hertfordshire on 22 June 1976.[43] He chose Elstree
as his territorial designation because ATV's main studios were based there. Death[edit] Grade died of heart failure, 12 days short of his 92nd birthday, on 13 December 1998 in London. To celebrate Grade's life and mark the centenary of his birth, BBC
Radio 2 transmitted two special one-hour tribute programmes on 24 and 25 December 2006.[30] References[edit]

^ a b c d e Lewis, Roger (16 March 2010). "The Last Great Showman". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 August 2012.  ^ "Person Page 19133". The Peerage. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-31.  Lew Grade ^ julia&keld (18 February 2010). "Lew Grade". Television and Movie Producer. Find a Grave. Retrieved 2013-12-31.  ^ Horace Newcomb, Encyclopedia of Television ^ a b c "Lord Grade of Elstree, showman, died on December 13th, aged 91". The Economist. 17 December 1998. Retrieved 31 December 2013. [H]e felt betrayed when in 1982 he lost control of Associated Communications Corporation, the parent company of his television and other interests, to Robert Holmes à Court, an Australian. Lord Grade had felt so close to the Australian that he allowed him to buy 51% of the voting shares. Holmes à Court then deposed him in a boardroom coup and purged the company of all his staff, even, Lord Grade noted sadly, his tea lady. Later, he observed waspishly, "Robert died quite a young man, for all his millions".  ^ a b c d Hoge, Warren (14 December 1998). "Lew Grade, 91, Flamboyant Shaper of British TV and Movies". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2017.  ^ Palmer, Alan Warwick (2000) [1989]. The East End: Four Centuries of London
Life. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 106. ISBN 0813528267. Retrieved 31 December 2013.  ^ Bethnal Green: Building and Social Conditions from 1876 to 1914: a History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney, Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 126–32; retrieved 14 November 2006. ^ a b Television Greats: Lew Grade, Television Heaven entry. ^ Brozan, Nadine (22 May 1992). "CHRONICLE". New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2013.  ^ "Joe Collins, Dynasty Star's Father". Chicago Tribune. 12 April 1988. Retrieved 12 August 2017.  ^ a b c Faith, Nicholas (14 December 1998). "Obituary: Lord Grade". The Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2017.  ^ a b c d Sergio Angelini "Grade, Lord Lew (1906–1998)", BFI Screenonline ^ Carl Ellis: Lew Grade, Part 3: the War and After Archived 5 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine., TV Heroes, Transdiffusion. ^ a b Michael Palmer and Jeremy Tunstal Media Moguls, Routledge, 1991, p. 112 ^ Jonathan Bignell ""And the Rest is History: Lew Grade, Creation Narratives and Television Historiography", in Catherine Johnson and Rob Turnock (eds.) Itv Cultures: Independent Television Over Fifty Years, Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2005, p. 50 ^ a b c Sergio Angelini: ITC, BFI screenonline. ^ Louis Barfe Where Have All the Good Times Gone? The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry, London: Atlantic Books, 2005, p. 134 ^ John Williams "Crossroads - The 1960s", BFI Screenonline ^ Carl Ellis Lew Grade, Part 4: Embracing the 1950s Archived 28 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine., TV Heroes, Transdiffusion. ^ James Chapman Saints and Avengers: British Adventure Series of the 1960s, London: I.B Tauris, 2002, p.100 ^ Stuart Hood "Export Backlash", The Spectator, 25 November 1966, p. 12 ^ Chapman, Saints and Avengers, p. 11 ^ "Thunderbirds". Classic TV Info. Retrieved 12 April 2017.  ^ Gilhooly, Rob (26 December 2001). "Still F.A.B. after all these years". The Japan Times. Retrieved 12 April 2017.  ^ Richard G. Elen; ATV, BFI screenonline. ^ Philip Norman Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation, New York: Fireside, 2005, pp. 422-24 ^ Entrepreneurs: Top Grade, TIME, 4 October 1971. ^ Martin Sullivan " A television Jesus", The Spectator, 23 August 1974, p. 15 ^ a b c Lew Grade
Lew Grade
on IMDb ^ Obituary: Blake Edwards, telegraph.co.uk, 16 December 2010 ^ Julian Upton Fallen Stars: Tragic Lives and Lost Careers, Manchester, Headpress, 2004, p.28 ^ Bob Thomas "Pink Panther Sequel Spelled Success", The Blade (Toledo, Ohio), 17 November 1975, p. 18 ^ Roger Lewis The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, London: Arrow Books, 2004 [1994], p. 845n. ^ "Sir Lew Grade
Lew Grade
the new knight in shining armour for British films", The Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland, 27 October 1975, p. 14. ^ Mark Duguid "Long Good Friday, The (1979)", BFI Screenonline; accessed 24 December 2015. ^ Sian Barber The British Film Industry in the 1970s: Capital, Culture and Creativity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, p. 39 ^ a b Howell Raines "Lew Grade, at 81, Retains His Zest for a Deal", New York Times, 17 April 1988. ^ Cuff, Daniel F. (24 June 1982). "Lord Grade Joins Norman Lear
Norman Lear
Team". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2017.  ^ Bennetts, Leslie (23 February 1987). "A Transformed Starlight Express Strives Towards Broadway Opening". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2017.  ^ " Lew Grade
Lew Grade
Biography (1906-1998)". Film Reference. Retrieved 12 August 2017.  ^ "No. 44790". The London
Gazette. 14 February 1969. p. 1705.  ^ "No. 46943". The London
Gazette. 24 June 1976. p. 8773. 

Further reading[edit]

Chester, Lewis (2010). All My Shows are Great: The Life of Lew Grade. Aurum Press, Limited. ISBN 9781845135089. Retrieved 31 December 2013.  Davis, Clifford (1981). How I made Lew Grade
Lew Grade
a millionaire-- and other fables : almost an autobiography (paperback ed.). London, UK: Mirror Books. ISBN 0859392473. LCCN 82112749.  Grade, Lew (1987). Still Dancing: My Story. London, UK: Collins. ISBN 0002177803. LCCN 88124903. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Lew Grade

Lew Grade
Lew Grade
on IMDb

v t e

International Emmy Directorate Award

Charles Curran (1973) Joseph V. Charyk (1974) Junzo Imamichi (1975) Talbot S. Duckmanton / Roberto Marinho / Howard Thomas (1976) Alphonse Quimet (1977) Frank Stanton (1979) Lew Grade
Lew Grade
(1980) Huw Wheldon
Huw Wheldon
(1981) Akio Morita
Akio Morita
(1982) Roberto Marinho (1983) Sidney Bernstein (1984) Leonard Goldenson (1985) Herbert Schmertz
Herbert Schmertz
(1986) Jeremy Isaacs (1987) Vittorio Boni (1988) Ted Turner
Ted Turner
(1989) Henrikas Yushkiavitshus (1990) Henry Becton (1991) Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
(1992) Andre Rousselet (1993) Helmut Thoma (1944) Jonh Birt (1995) Herbert A. Granath (1996) Dieter Stolte (1997) Sam Nilsson (1998) Ralph Baruch (1999) Su-Ming Cheng (2000) Gustavo Cisneros
Gustavo Cisneros
(2001) Katsuji Ebisawa (2002) Greg Dyke
Greg Dyke
(2003) Herbert Kloiber (2004) Charles Allen (2005) Ronald S. Lauder
Ronald S. Lauder
(2006) Patrick Le Lay (2007) Liu Changle (2008) Markus Schächter (2009) Lorne Michaels
Lorne Michaels
(2010) Subhash Chandra
Subhash Chandra
(2011) Kim In-Kyu (2012) Anke Schäferkordt (2013) Roberto Irineu Marinho
Roberto Irineu Marinho
(2014) Richard Plepler
Richard Plepler
(2015) Maria Rørbye Rønn (2016) Emilio Azcárraga Jean
Emilio Azcárraga Jean

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 15567102 LCCN: n88069260 ISNI: 0000 0000 5068 6566 GND: 118860690 SE