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Merv Adelson dead: TV mogul dies at 85

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Peter Borsari/AP

TV mogul Merv Adelson died Tuesday, his lawyer confirmed to EW. He was 85 years old.

Over his long career, Adelson and his production company, Lorimar, produced a bevy of hit shows. They first struck gold with 1972’s The Waltons, and hit a groove in the late ’80s with Full House, Dallas, ALF, and Knots Landing.

Adelson was also known for his marriage to journalist Barbara Walters. The pair was married from 1981 to 1984 and later from 1986 to 1992. “Merv was a kind and gentle man with a great sense of humor. We stayed friends long after our marriage,” Walters said in a statement to EW.

Born Oct. 23, 1929, Adelson initially made his wealth by opening a 24/7 Las Vegas grocery store. At his peak, Adelson was worth $300 million and was the vice chairman at Warner Bros. until 1991.

In the early 2000s, Adelson’s net worth plummeted after the dotcom bubble burst. At the time of a 2013 Vanity Fair profile, Adelson lived in a meek 500-square-foot Santa Monica, Calif. apartment.

He is survived by his three children: his daughters — Elle, Lexi, and Ava — and his two sons, Andrew and Gary.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported Adelson’s death.