Jim Paratore, the man responsible for creating TMZ and producing television programs such as "Ellen", "Rosie", and, my personal favorite, "Judge Mathis", died of a heart attack while on a bicycle trip in France. He was 58.
Paratore, along with Harvey Levin, was instrumental in bringing TMZ to life, both online and across the airwaves. The duo put together the concept for the aforementioned gossip/news site back in 2006, though the struggle of selling it to their bosses was left up to Jim. However, being a consummate salesman -- he was instrumental in convincing television stations across the country that they should take a chance on Ellen DeGeneres after she announced her homosexuality -- Paratore managed to sell the idea to others, thus creating the TMZ we know and (secretly) love today.
Additionally, Paratore was also the president of Telepictures, the company responsible for bringing "Extra", the latest incarnation of "The People's Court", and "Celebrity Justice" to the masses. He is survived by his wife Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique Paratore.
Paratore's passing has impacted a lot of individuals, from relative nobodies such as myself to those who worked closely with the man over the years. Have a look at what a few people have to say about the producer's untimely demise.
My friend, producer and champion Jim Paratore died today. He gave me a chance when no one else would. I love you, Jim.
Absolutely shattered to hear of Jim Paratore's passing. The world just lost an exciting, passionate, kind and incredibly creative soul.
Shocked and heartbroken to hear of the death of my friend Jim Paratore. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Incredibly hard news.
So sad to hear of the passing of Jim Paratore. He was a gentleman & consummate professional. My heart goes out to his friends & family. RIP