Salah M. Hassanein: Former Warner Bros. Exhibition Executive, Dies at 98

Salah M. Hassanein, an icon in the film industry and a selfless humanitarian, passed away on Friday at 98 years old. As the former president of Warner Bros. International Theaters, his impact on Hollywood will never be forgotten. Beyond his successful career, Hassanein dedicated his life to giving back and making a positive impact on those around him. 

His tireless philanthropy earned him the honor of having an award named after him, the Salah M. Hassanein Humanitarian Award. This award is given to leaders in the industry who have made a significant difference in the world of philanthropy. While his presence will be missed, his legacy will continue to inspire countless individuals to give back to their communities.

In 2011, a true American hero was recognized with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. This prestigious award is given to U.S. citizens who have not only achieved great personal success, but who also embody the principles and values that have made America the great melting pot it is today. The recipient of this honor in 2011 was no exception. Through hard work, determination, and an unwavering commitment to his community, this individual truly epitomized what it means to be an American. It is an honor well-deserved, and a reminder that no matter where we come from or what we do, we all have the power to make a difference and leave a lasting impact on the world around us.

Throughout his life, Hassanein devoted himself to philanthropic endeavors that made a difference in the lives of countless individuals. He tirelessly chaired gala events with his partner Zandra Rhodes in San Diego, raising funds to construct the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UCSD in La Jolla, CA. His dedication to giving back did not stop there. He also served as a board member of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, and worked extensively with the Salvation Army in San Diego. Despite all his impressive accomplishments, he considered his work with the Children’s Lifeline International to be his life’s crowning achievement. Through this organization, he was able to make a lasting impact on the lives of children in need. Hassanein’s philanthropic spirit serves as an inspiration for us all to do our part in making the world a better place.

From United Artists Eastern Theaters to Warner Bros and Todd-AO Corp., Hassanein’s career has been nothing short of impressive. He rose through the ranks to become president of United Artists Eastern Theaters and later joined Warner Bros. International Theaters, where he played a critical role in the company’s global expansion. Hassanein oversaw the creation of a vast network of movie houses in Europe, Japan, and Australia, putting Warner Bros. on the map as a major player in the global entertainment industry. After leaving Warner Bros., Hassanein took on the role of president of the Todd-AO Corp., a Los Angeles-based sound-mixing studio, cementing his legacy as a titan of the entertainment world.

Throughout his life, he committed himself to service and philanthropy. Serving for many years as a member of the board of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, he worked tirelessly to ensure the well-being of the community’s young people. For his dedication, the club was renamed in his honor, a testament to the impact he made there. His commitment to service extended beyond just the variety clubs, however, as he was also the president and honorary chairman of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. 

He even played an instrumental role in creating the Will Rogers Institute on the grounds of Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, which assisted individuals in need of medical care after the closure of the Will Rogers Hospital. His dedication and generosity have left an indelible mark on the world, bringing hope and joy to countless individuals in need.

Throughout his career, the former head of Warner Bros’ International Theaters worked tirelessly to expand the company’s reach across the globe. Under his leadership, the creation of a hub of movie houses in Australia, Europe, and Japan paved the way for Warner Bros to establish a name for itself in many new markets. After stepping down in 1994, he continued to contribute to the world of entertainment as the president of a sound-mixing studio based in Los Angeles. Alongside his impressive work in the industry, he also produced several classic films, including Creepshow, Day of the Dead, and Kentucky Fried Movie. His efforts in bringing these films to life have helped to shape the world of cinema as we know it today.

Hassanein touched the lives of many people throughout his years, and his legacy lives on through his family. His love for his children and grandchildren was immeasurable, and his devotion to his partner, Zandra Rhodes, was unwavering. Although he may no longer be with us, his memory lives on through the many nieces and nephews he has left behind. We may mourn his loss, but we take comfort in knowing that his impact will never be forgotten.

Hassanein’s legacy was never about his own personal gain, but rather how he could give back to those around him. New York business executive, Fred Friedman, served on boards with Hassanein and learned from him the importance of giving back when you have enough. Hassanein believed that the true mark of a successful life was not measured by material possessions, but rather by the positive impact one has on the world. He emphasized the importance of leaving a legacy of generosity and kindness that would benefit mankind. His legacy serves as an inspiration to all who knew him and continues to serve as a reminder of the power of giving.

Throughout his life, one thing that truly brought joy to him was being surrounded by people. He loved the hustle and bustle of a crowded room, the sound of laughter and chatter filling the air. It was as if the company of others gave him a sense of purpose. But among all the activities he enjoyed, there was one that stood out above the rest. Every evening, without fail, he would find a place to watch the sunset. Even when his health began to decline and the simple act of walking became a challenge, he would make sure to take a moment and admire the beauty of the colors painting the sky. The sunset was a reminder to him that no matter how chaotic the day might have been, there was always something beautiful to look forward to.

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