Leonard H. Goldenson, who transformed the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) into one of the world's mightiest media empires, was honored posthumously on Thursday with the 2,316th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Goldenson, who retired as ABC's chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 1986 after the company merged with Capital Cities Inc, died Dec.27, 1999, at the age of 94.
Thursday's ceremony at 6834 Hollywood Blvd. was in conjunction with an exhibit on Goldenson's life at The Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills and the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, said Goldenson "shaped an entire industry."
TV executive Loreen Arbus, one of Goldenson's daughters, said: "It's been six years since his passing and many, many years since I first dared to imagine that a Leonard H. Goldenson star on the Walk of Fame might be possible."
"It's truly emotional and a bit surreal to see that this dream has become a reality," she said.
"Virtually every innovation, every first in television history, did occur at ABC during the 33 years that my dad was at the helm," Arbus said. "He was a lifelong visionary who permanently enhanced and profoundly changed broadcast media."
Born on Dec. 7, 1905, in Scottdale, Pa., Goldenson received bachelor's and law degrees from Harvard University. After a stint as a law clerk to a railroad attorney in the early 1930s, Goldenson was hired in 1933 to reorganize the bankrupt Paramount Pictures' New England Theaters.
Four years later, he was named to head Paramount's theater operations.Following the U.S. Supreme Court's 1948 decision ordering the movie studios to divest themselves of their theater chains because of anti-trust violations, he became president of the independent United Paramount Theaters.
In 1953, the Federal Communications Commission approved United Paramount Theaters' merger with ABC, with Goldenson becoming the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the network.
Under Goldenson, ABC became the leader in sports television, with "Wide World of Sports," "Monday Night Football" and its Olympics telecasts.
Goldenson was also known for his philanthropy. When his daughter Genise was born with severe birth defects, Goldenson, his wife Isabelle, and friends Jack and Ethel Hausman created United Cerebral Palsy in 1949.
In 1994, the Goldensons gave half their fortune -- 60 million U.S. dollars -- to Harvard Medical School, to endow research on neurological diseases.