David Z. Marmel, known for creating ESPN’s Victor Awards and the Mrs. America pageants, died peacefully at home after a long battle with cancer. He was 84.
A highly respected television producer and philanthropist, he embarked on a 50-year-long professional career when he—alongside his wife Elaine—created the Victors, known then as the “Academy Awards of Sports” to help raise funds and awareness for the City of Hope Research National Medical Center. He continued his drive to create and produce award shows and benefits, including the Mrs. America and Mrs. World pageants, and worked with John H. Johnson to create the American Black Achievement Awards, which he executive produced for 11 years.
Marmel was born in Los Angeles on December 31, 1935. He spent his early childhood watching the Chicago Cubs play in Wrigley Field on Avalon Blvd in LA before moving to Chicago with his family where he played with the Chicago Cubs for a short time. His passion for the Cubs and Chicago never waned.
He served his country by enlisting in the army and was interned with honors at Forest Lawn cemetery in Cathedral City, California.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 51 years Elaine, their dog Melvin, his nephew and niece, Steven and Judi Marmel, and nieces and nephews, Jared and Audrey Wein, Elizabeth Wein-Gatland and Tim Gatland, and their children Sara and Mark.
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