Walter E. Calmette Sr., a film executive for Embassy Pictures and New World Entertainment who also ran business affairs for Felix the Cat Productions for more than 30 years, has died. He was 85.
His family confirmed that Calmette died of heart failure on January 6.
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Calmette came to the U.S. from Peru in 1958 and began his entertainment career four years later with an entry-level job with Films Incorporated in Hollywood. While there, he learned the film-sales trade and would rise to lead the company’s L.A. office.
He moved to Avco Embassy Pictures in 1980 as Director of Non-Theatrical Sales and later was upped to VP. Calmette moved to New World Entertainment in 1984 as SVP Acquisitions, where he continued his work in ancillary sales, licensing and merchandising and theatrical acquisitions worldwide.
That experience would lead to a secondary gig. The Oriolo family hired Calmette to run business affairs for Felix the Cat Productions, overseeing all of the beloved character’s worldwide merchandising and licensing deals. It’s a job he’d have for 30-plus years.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mila; son Walter Jr, daughter Kira Calmette Feola — an awards specialist who founded and runs KC Feola PR — and several grandchildren and in-laws.
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