(CelebrityAccess) – Canadian media magnate and co-founder of Astral Media, Ian Greenberg passed Monday, January 11 at the age of 79. His private service was held on Thursday, January 13. A cause of death has not been announced.
Born in Montreal to an Ashkenazi Jewish family of 10 – Greenberg, along with his brothers, Sidney, Harvey, and Harold, co-founded Astral Media, Inc. in the early 60’s. Astral originally focused on photographic processing and was based inside of Miracle Mart departments stores. They eventually made their business, renamed Astral Communications, public in 1974. Astral moved into motion pictures when it replaced Pathé-Humphries’ motion picture lab and renamed it AstralTech. AstralTech expanded into film production and distribution, working on 1982’s Porky movie, the highest-grossing Canadian movie in North America for two decades. The success of Porky’s granted some financial freedom and the company moved to pay television.
When Harold became ill in 1995, Greenberg took over the reigns as head of the company, which was in financial turmoil at the time. However, due to his networking ability and low-key management style, Astral went from photography to buying radio stations.
He served as CEO for 16 years consecutively with considerable growth before Astral’s acquisition by Bell Canadian Enterprises (BCE) where Greenberg served as Director of the BCE board. Before BCE’s purchase of Astral for $3.38B, the affable CEO had managed 66 consecutive quarters of profitable growth, an astounding achievement. Greenberg convinced executives at HBO to partner with Astral beyond licensing programming and was granted permission to launch HBO Canada.
“Canada has lost a business visionary and media legend, and we at Bell have lost a wise and affable colleague and friend,” BCE chair Gordon Nixon said in a statement.
Greenburg received the Ted Rogers and Velma Rogers Graham Award for his contribution to Canadian broadcasting. He was a member of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame and the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. He also served as governor of Montréal’s Jewish General Hospital.
Greenberg is survived by his wife of 53 years, Linda; son Adam Greenberg; daughters, Mandy, and Ali Greenberg and nine beloved grandchildren; Riley, Kendall, Colby, Alexa, Ashley, Blake, Alex, James, and Andrew.