Frederick Schneier, Viacom Executive and Producer, Dies at 95

Frederick Schneier, an entertainment industry veteran of more than 45 years, died on September 15 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 95.

Schneier most prominently served as an executive at Viacom, where he helped develop Showtime Networks in the 1980s and later became chairman and CEO of Viacom Pictures.

Schneier was born on May 31, 1927 in Brooklyn, NY. He served in the US Army and eventually attended New York University to study business with an emphasis in marketing. He met his wife of 67 years, Joyce, shortly after graduating from New York University, and the couple married in 1955.

His film and television career began in 1958 when he and his mentor, Robert C. Manby, founded the Showcorporation of America, an international distributor of motion picture and television productions. Schneier then joined the London-based Hemdale Leisure Corporation’s US subsidiary in 1973 as its vice president and chief operating officer, where he helped produce film and television projects such as the Muhammad Ali and George Foreman fight “Rumble in the Jungle.” in Zaire. .

In 1979, Schneier moved to Viacom International as Senior Vice President of Motion Picture Acquisitions at Viacom Enterprises, which became a position of more than 14 years. Schneier moved to Los Angeles four years later to support the launch of Showtime Networks, Inc., where he served as vice president of acquisitions before being promoted to executive vice president of programming. Schneier’s work also helped introduce championship boxing and other high-profile events on Showtime’s regular schedule.

Later, in 1989, Viacom International launched Viacom Pictures with Schneier at the helm as Chairman and CEO. Among the titles he was involved in producing were “Paris Trout,” “Taking the Heat” and “The Wrong Man.”

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In 1993, Schneier’s own brand, FSA Film Enterprises, was established to serve as a film production and liaison company providing production and marketing services in the domestic and international film markets. FSA Film Enterprises developed such original films as “Convict Cowboy,” starring Jon Voight and Kyle Chandler, and “Run for the Dream,” starring Lou Gossett Jr. and Charlayne Woodard. Schneier produced these titles with his daughter Diane for Showtime.

Throughout his career, Schneier advocated for non-profit organizations such as The United Way and served as a board member, president, and CEO of the American Film Marketing Association.

He is survived by his wife Joyce, daughter Diane, son-in-law Bryce, grandson Alec, along with many nieces, great-nieces, great-nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his daughter Robin.

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