Merv Adelson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Merv Adelson
Mervyn Adelson.jpg
Adelson in 1985
Mervyn Lee Adelson

(1929-10-23)October 23, 1929
DiedSeptember 8, 2015(2015-09-08) (aged 85)
Los Angeles, California
OccupationReal Estate Developer, Television Producer
Years active1950–2015
Known forCo-founder of Lorimar Television
Spouse(s)Lori Kaufman (divorced)
Gail Kenaston (divorced)
Barbara Walters
(m. 1981; div. 1984)
; (m. 1986; div. 1992)
Thea Nesis (divorced)
Children5, including Andrew Adelson and Gary Adelson

Mervyn Lee "Merv" Adelson (October 23, 1929 – September 8, 2015) was an American real estate developer and television producer who co-founded Lorimar Television.

Early life[edit]

Adelson was born to a Jewish family[1] in Los Angeles on October 23, 1929 to Nathan and Pearl Adelson (née Swartz). His parents were the children of immigrants from Russia who had settled in Nebraska. He worked in a grocery store run by his family as a child.[2]


In the 1950s Adelson established himself in Las Vegas where he first met Irwin Molasky and Moe Dalitz.[3] The trio were responsible for building the Las Vegas Country Club as well as what became Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.[3] Molasky and Adelson later opened Omni La Costa Resort and Spa in 1965. Adelson soon left the real estate industry and co-founded Lorimar Television with Molasky and Lee Rich in 1969.[4][5]

Personal life and death[edit]

Adelson was married and subsequently divorced four times. His first wife was Lori Kaufman with whom he had a daughter and two sons:[6] Ellen Adelson Ross, Andrew Adelson, and Gary Adelson.[7] His second wife was Gail Kenaston,[6] adopted daughter of silent film star Billie Dove.[8] His third wife was the television journalist Barbara Walters to whom he was married from 1981 until 1984. They remarried in 1986 and divorced for the second time in 1992. They met on a blind date.[2][9] His fourth wife was Thea Nesis[6] with whom he had adopted two daughters, Lexi and Ava Nesis.[7] All his marriages ended in divorce.[6]

Adelson died in Los Angeles on September 8, 2015 from cancer, aged 85.[4]


  1. ^ Marschall, John P. (February 1, 2008). Jews in Nevada: A History. University of Nevada Press. p. 180. ISBN 9780874177374.
  2. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (September 11, 2015). "Merv Adelson, Daring TV Producer, Dies at 85". New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Ed Koch, Desert Inn, Stardust chief helped integrate Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas Sun, September 1, 2008
  4. ^ a b "Lorimar Co-Founder and TV Mogul Merv Adelson Dies at 85". Variety. September 9, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  5. ^ "How Lorimar, the Company Behind 'Dallas' and 'Falcon Crest,' Bred Hollywood's Ruling Executive Class". Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Merv Adelson, television producer - obituary". Daily Telegraph. September 13, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Koch, Ed (September 11, 2015). "Las Vegas developer turned Hollywood mogul had his share of highs, lows". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  8. ^ Los Angeles Times: "Gail Adelson; Hostess, Home Designer to the Stars" by Myrna Oliver February 22, 1999
  9. ^ Woo, Elaine (September 10, 2015). "Merv Adelson dies at 85; TV mogul and philanthropist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 11, 2015.

External links[edit]