Michel M. Grilikhes -- producer of the first primetime cartoon series, CBS CARTOON THEATER -- died March 9, 2007, in Los Angeles of kidney failure, reports THE BIG CARTOON DATABASE. He was 83 years old.
CBS Cartoon Theater only aired one year -- 1956 -- and was hosted by Dick Van Dyke. The series was comprised mainly of Terrytoons. In some episodes, Van Dyke would interact with some of his cartoon guests.
He was born in New York in 1923, the son of French artist/director Anatol Grilikhes and concert violinist/poet Blanche. While in the Marines, Grilikhes was put in charge of its motion picture production unit. He served in the military for 20 years, achieving the rank of major and was a veteran of the Korean War. He held a bachelor's degree from New York University. He also went to Yale University to study drama.
Besides television, Grilikhes produced large productions for the stage, including DISNEY ON PARADE, the 1954 musical PETER PAN and THE WIZARD OF OZ LIVE!.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Laraine Day, two daughters, a son, a stepson, a stepdaughter, two sisters and several grandchildren.