Lorimar, later known as Lorimar Television and Lorimar Distribution, was an American television production company that was later a subsidiary of Warner Bros., active from 1969 until 1993. It was founded by Irwin Molasky, Merv Adelson, and Lee Rich, who named the company by combining their initials - LORI(M)A. Inspired by Adelson's ex-wife, Lori, an O was added as was a final R (apparently inspired by Palomar Airport in San Diego, California) to make a more palatable name - Lorimar.
The company was founded on $185,000 loan Merv Adelson gave to Lee Rich. Prior to Lorimar, Rich had an established reputation; first as an advertising executive at Benton & Bowles, then as a television producer, co-producing (with Walter Mirisch) successful series such as The Rat Patrol.
Lorimar initially started producing made-for-TV movies for the ABC Movie of the Week. Rich bought the script to an adaptation of Earl Hamner Jr.'s novel The Homecoming and subsequently sold the rights to CBS. The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, airing during the 1971 holiday season, was a ratings success, and served as the pilot for Lorimar's first major hit production, The Waltons, premiering in 1972. Throughout the 1970s, Lorimar produced several other shows, as well, including Eight is Enough; of these, the most popular by far was Dallas. In 1980, Lorimar purchased the bankrupt Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.
In 1984-85, three of the top 10 shows in the United States were produced by Lorimar; Dallas, Knots Landing, and Falcon Crest. In the mid-1980s, Lorimar's output swung toward family-friendly sitcoms; among these were The Hogan Family (initially titled Valerie), Perfect Strangers, and Full House, which were produced by Miller-Boyett Productions.
In 1985, Lorimar announced their intention to buy a 15% share in the then-troubled Warner Communications company. In 1986, Lorimar, in an attempt to expand into first-run syndication, merged with television syndication firm Telepictures, becoming Lorimar-Telepictures; later that year, they purchased the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot from Ted Turner. Around that same year, Rich left the company and moved to MGM.
Purchase by Warner Communications
In 1988, Lorimar-Telepictures's production arm became Lorimar Television; however, the L-T distribution business remained until 1989. In 1989, Lorimar was purchased by Warner Communications, which was merging with Time Inc. to form Time Warner, one of the world's largest media companies, now headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Lorimar's distribution business was folded into Warner Bros. Television Distribution and became Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution; since then, the Telepictures name has been resurrected as both a production company (circa 1990), and once again as a syndication company (1996, after the Turner merger).
The former MGM studio lot was sold to Sony to house Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Sony's other film operations which were later named Columbia Studios and is now Sony Pictures Studios. Lorimar continued as a production company until July 1993, when it was folded into Warner Bros. Television, for "economic issues" as a result of declining syndication sales. The last series to premiere under the Lorimar name was Time Trax, as part of the Prime Time Entertainment Network programming block.
Les Moonves (current president of CBS Corporation) was the president and CEO of Lorimar Television from 1990 to 1993. Moonves then became the chairman of Warner Bros. Television after the merger with Lorimar.
Key components Lorimar owned
Additionally, Lorimar has owned key components of the film library of the defunct Allied Artists film studio (originally Monogram Pictures), which includes Cabaret and Papillon; these, too, are now owned by Warner. After the merger with Telepictures, they also took possession of the Rankin/Bass animation house, along with the post-1973 library of that company, including its entry into the 1980s animation market, ThunderCats, which ran until 1989; a Warner Bros. Animation-produced revival show aired on Cartoon Network for one season in 2011.
- The Good Life (with Screen Gems, 1971–1972)
- The Waltons (1972–1981)
- Apple's Way (1974–1975)
- Sybil (TV movie) (1976)
- Helter Skelter (TV miniseries) (1976)
- Eight Is Enough (1977–1981)
- Dallas (1978–1991)
- Kaz (1978-1979)
- Knots Landing (1979–1993)
- Skag (1980)
- Flamingo Road (1980–1982)
- The People's Court (1981–1993)
- Falcon Crest (1981–1990)
- King's Crossing (1982)
- Boone (1983)
- Just Our Luck (1983)
- Love Connection (1983–1993)
- Hunter (1984–1991) (distribution only until 1988)
- Christopher Columbus (TV miniseries) (1984)
- ThunderCats (1985–1989)
- SilverHawks (1986)
- Mama's Family (1986–1990 version, distribution only)
- ALF (1986–1990)
- Valerie/The Hogan Family (1986–1991)
- Perfect Strangers (1986–1993)
- She's the Sheriff (1987)
- Full House (1987–1993)
- Gumby (1988)
- Midnight Caller (1988–1991)
- Paradise (TV series) (1988–1991)
- Freddy's Nightmares (1988–1990)
- Nearly Departed (1989)
- Island Son (1989-1990)
- Family Matters (1989–1993)
- Stephen King's It (TV mini-series) (1990)
- Reasonable Doubts (1991–1993)
- Sisters (1991–1993)
- Step by Step (1991–1993)
- O Pioneers! (TV movie) (1992)
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (1992)
- To Grandmother's House We Go (TV movie) (1992)
- Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (1992–1993)
- Time Trax (1993)
- It Had to Be You (1993)
- Island City (TV movie) (1994)
Lorimar not only specialized in producing television programs, they also produced (sporadically) a number of theatrical motion pictures, most of which were originally distributed by other studios. Lorimar's entrance into feature films was predominantly sanctioned by Adelson; Rich was vehemently against it. This asset was among the many factors for Rich's exit from the studio in 1986.
In 1985, they had a film production unit known as Lorimar Motion Pictures. In January 1987, the film unit was renamed Lorimar Film Entertainment to coincide with its newly formed in-house distribution unit. In 1988, Lorimar made a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Under Warner, Lorimar continued to make theatrical films until 1990.
The rights to most of the films noted here have been retained by their original distributors (as noted with an * asterisk), while others are now in the hands of Warner Bros. (Including all of the Lorimar film productions released by United Artists, 20th Century Fox, almost all of the Lorimar film productions released by Paramount Pictures, and the Lorimar film productions released by Warner Bros.) The television rights to The Last Starfighter are owned by Warner, while Universal Studios holds theatrical and home video rights. In the UK, films produced by Lorimar in the late 1970s/early 1980s were distributed by ITC Entertainment. Lorimar Motion Pictures also distributed The Fourth Protocol, Siesta, World Gone Wild, and Two Moon Junction - none of them produced by the company - in North America. ITV Global Entertainment now owns The Tamarind Seed. The rights to Fedora and Twilight's Last Gleaming have since reverted to the film's German co-producers. Moonwalker has since reverted to Sony Music.
|February 28, 1971||The Sporting Club||distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures*|
|July 19, 1972||The Man||in association with ABC Circle Films; distributed by Paramount Pictures*|
|November 7, 1974||The Tamarind Seed||in association with ITC*; distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures|
|February 9, 1977||Twilight's Last Gleaming||distributed by Allied Artists|
|December 23, 1977||The Choirboys||distributed by Universal Studios*|
|June 29, 1978||Fedora||inherited from Allied Artists, distributed by United Artists|
|October 6, 1978||Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?||originally distributed by Warner Bros.; WB summarily relinquished the rights, but reclaimed them after the Lorimar/WB merger|
|August 10, 1979||Americathon||distributed by United Artists|
|October 16, 1979||Avalanche Express||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|November 6, 1979||The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh||distributed by United Artists|
|December 19, 1979||Being There||distributed by United Artists|
|February 15, 1980||Cruising||distributed by United Artists|
|May 23, 1980||Carny||distributed by United Artists|
|July 18, 1980||The Big Red One||distributed by United Artists|
|March 20, 1981||The Postman Always Rings Twice||co-production with MGM; distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|April 24, 1981||Night School||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|May 5, 1981||Second-Hand Hearts||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|June 5, 1981||The Sea Wolves||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|July 1, 1981||S.O.B.||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|July 30, 1981||Victory||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|February 12, 1982||Love & Money||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|August 13, 1982||An Officer and a Gentleman||Lorimar/Paramount co-production*|
|October 8, 1982||Lookin' to Get Out||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|October 21, 1983||The Dead Zone||in silent partnership with Dino De Laurentiis Corporation, distributed by Paramount Pictures, who still owns major rights today*|
|March 16, 1984||Tank||distributed and co-produced by Universal Studios*|
|July 13, 1984||The Last Starfighter||distributed and co-produced by Universal Studios*|
|January 31, 1986||Power||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|June 27, 1986||American Anthem||distributed by Columbia Pictures|
|August 14, 1986||The Boy Who Could Fly||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|December 25, 1986||The Morning After||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|August 28, 1987||The Fourth Protocol||U.S. distribution|
|September 16, 1987||In the Mood||a co-production with Kings Road Entertainment|
|September 18, 1987||Orphans|
|October 2, 1987||Big Shots||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|November 6, 1987||Made In Heaven|
|November 11, 1987||Siesta||U.S. distribution|
|January 15, 1988||Return of the Living Dead Part II|
|February 12, 1988||Action Jackson|
|April 15, 1988||Tokyo Pop||distributed by International SpectraFilm|
|April 22, 1988||World Gone Wild||pickup from Apollo Pictures for U.S. theatrical distribution|
|April 29, 1988||Two Moon Junction||pickup from DDM Film Corporation for U.S. theatrical distribution|
|September 9, 1988||Running On Empty||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|December 21, 1988||Dangerous Liaisons||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|October 29, 1988||Moonwalker||distributed internationally by Warner Bros.|
|February 24, 1989||Bert Rigby, You're a Fool||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|The Toxic Avenger Part II||distributed and co-produced by Troma Entertainment*|
|March 24, 1989||Dead Bang||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|April 14, 1989||See You in the Morning||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|August 23, 1989||Cookie||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|October 20, 1989||Next of Kin||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|November 3, 1989||Second Sight||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|August 24, 1990||The Witches||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
In 1984, Lorimar purchased Karl Video Corporation (KVC), also known as Karl Home Video, which was named after its founder, Stuart Karl (1953–1991). KVC, which was best known for producing the bestselling Jane Fonda workout videos, was renamed Karl-Lorimar Home Video after the acquisition. Relationships between Lorimar and Karl grew sour, which forced Karl to resign in March 1987. Karl-Lorimar continued to exist under the name Lorimar Home Video until it closed sometime later. Lorimar Home Video closed in 1989 and was folded into Warner Home Video.
In Australia, Lorimar joined a venture with Village Roadshow to create Roadshow Lorimar Home Video, which distributed movie titles by Lorimar Motion Pictures in that country.
- Main article: Lorimar-Telepictures
In 1979, Lorimar started Lorimar Records which started with the soundtrack to the film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. The label would have very few artists signed to it. It was mainly distributed by Columbia Records, but it was also distributed for one album from The Coyote Sisters by Motown Records via the Morocco subsidiary. Lorimar Records' final release was the soundtrack to Action Jackson which in that case was distributed by Atlantic Records.
- Lorimar Television at the Internet Movie Database