Paul Stojanovich

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Paul Stojanovich, Sr.
Born February 13, 1956
Sacramento, California
Died March 15, 2003 (aged 47)
near Manzanita, Oregon
Nationality American
Occupation Television producer
Years active 1986 - 2003
Children Paul Jr, Chester
Parent(s) Chester and Martha Stojanovich

Paul Stojanovich (February 13, 1956 – March 15, 2003) was an American television producer whose notable creations include American Detective (1991–1993) and World's Wildest Police Videos (1998–2001).


His father, Chester Stojanovich, was an entomologist with a Doctorate from Stanford and his mother, Martha Stojanovich, was one of the first women to work at the Centers for Disease Control. Martha was diagnosed with schizophrenia shortly after he was born. As a teenager, Stojanovich became an avid photographer, saving his money to buy an expensive Hasselblad camera and getting his own darkroom in his father's barn in Campbell, California. He won the respect of Graham Nash, an avid photographer, at the age of 13 and began to collaborate with him. At 16, he dropped out of high school and started taking film-making classes from Larry Booth in Half Moon Bay, California. His experience as a photographer made the transition to motion pictures relatively easy. .

His interest in policing began when he was attending high school in San Jose, often listening to his police scanner. He even subscribed to a CHP magazine. He combined his interest in photography and film-making and his interest in police work when he convinced some friends with the San Jose Sheriff's Office Narcotics unit to let him film their work. The film became the Emmy-award winning documentary Narco.

Stojanovich then spent a few years working as a camerman for then NBC affiliate KRON. While working at KRON, he met one of his heroes, photographer Ansel Adams, who was particularly interested in the workings of his video camera. He also worked as a field producer for the ABC news magazine 20/20 and was creative consultant on Oliver Stone's film Natural Born Killers.

After serving as a field producer for the reality show COPS in 1989 and then producing and creating the ABC series American Detective, Stojanovich executive produced a series of crime reality shows, including World's Scariest Police Chases and Ultimate Police Challenge. His legacy as an innovative creator and producer still commands respect in the entertainment business.

The Beaverton, Oregon Police Department made Stojanovich an Honorary Special Reserve Officer.


Stojanovich died on March 15, 2003 after accidentally falling off a cliff on the Oregon coast while posing for a photograph his fiance, Kim Crowell, was taking. He was 47. His body was found 29 days later by kayakers Ben Baker and David Steinberg at Short Sands Beach after his body washed up to the shore. He is survived by his two sons, Paul Jr., "Paulie", and Chester, aka Chet.

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