28 Facts About Lew Grade


Lew Grade had some success in this field with such series as Gerry Anderson's many Supermarionation series such as Thunderbirds, Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner, and Jim Henson's The Muppet Show.


Lew Grade was born in Tokmak, Berdyansky Uyezd, Taurida Governorate, Russian Empire, to Isaak and Olga Winogradsky.


In 1912, when Lew Grade was five years old, his Jewish family escaped the pogroms by emigrating from Odessa, via Berlin to London and resettled in Shoreditch on Brick Lane in the East End of London.


At the age of 15, Lew Grade became an agent for a clothing company, and shortly afterwards started his own business.


Grade subsequently became a professional dancer going by the name Louis Grad; he changed this name to Lew Grade, which came from a Paris reporter's typing error that Grade liked and decided to keep.


Lew Grade was signed as a dancer by Joe Collins in 1931.


Decades later, the octogenarian Lord Lew Grade once danced the Charleston at a party Arthur Ochs Sulzberger gave in New York.


Lew Grade was discharged after two years when an old problem with swelling of the knees, which had earlier ended his dancing career, recurred.


Lew Grade's connections included, among others, Bob Hope and Judy Garland, who performed in Britain for the first time.


In 1954, Lew Grade was contacted by the manager of singer Jo Stafford, Mike Nidorf, who notified him of an advertisement in The Times inviting franchise bids for the new, commercial ITV network.


The Associated Broadcasting Development Company had gained ITA approval for both the London weekend and Midlands weekday contracts, but was undercapitalised; Lew Grade's consortium joined with the ABD to form what became Associated Television.


Lew Grade did not avoid the other end of the cultural spectrum and in 1958 Sir Kenneth Clark began to talk about the history of art on television.


Meanwhile, Lew Grade committed the funds for what would become the first trans-Atlantic success of the ITP subsidiary: The Adventures of Robin Hood, commissioned by UK-based American producer Hannah Weinstein.


Lew Grade was deputy managing director of ATV under Val Parnell until 1962, when he became managing director having contrived to have the board oust Parnell.


Lew Grade soon decided that the Midlands deserved its own regular soap opera as a rival to Coronation Street.


ITC's success continued and had many internationally successful TV series, leading Howard Thomas, managing director of ABC Weekend TV, to complain that Lew Grade distributed programming for "Birmingham, Alabama, rather than Birmingham, England".


In 1966, Lew Grade's companies were re-organised again to form the Associated Communications Corporation.


Lew Grade's action was instrumental in bringing The Muppet Show to the screen in 1976 and ensuring its success; it ran until 1981.


Lew Grade approached Blake Edwards to revive the Pink Panther franchise as a TV series, an option Edwards was not keen on, but he did work on developing scripts.


Lew Grade's backing of an expensive "all-star" flop was to prove decisive.


In 1980, Lew Grade's standing in the mass media industry was damaged by two events: the poor reception for Raise the Titanic, and a decision that, effective from 1 January 1982 ATV Midlands would be permitted to keep its licence only on the condition that it terminate its association with Lew Grade and ITC.


Lew Grade resigned his position in the company while it underwent a series of partnerships and mergers.


Lew Grade was brought in by American producer Norman Lear in June 1982 to head the London division of Embassy Communications International, to be involved in the production and distribution of films and television programmes.


The Lew Grade Company produced adaptations for television of works by novelist Dame Barbara Cartland; he owned the rights to 450 of her romances.


Lew Grade was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford.


In 1969, Lew Grade was knighted and created a life peer as Baron Lew Grade, of Elstree in the County of Hertfordshire, on 22 June 1976.


Lew Grade reportedly chose Elstree as his territorial designation because ATV's main studios were based there.


Lew Grade was buried at the Liberal Jewish Cemetery in London's Willesden neighbourhood.