Richard Allen Fox, who founded the Reading, Pennsylvania based Fox Theatres chain in the 1950s and went on to become President of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), died at the age of 90 on 24 July 2019 in Boca Raton, Florida.
Fox was born on January 5, 1929, in Buffalo, New York to the late Harry Fox and Freda Morgan Fox. After attending the University of Buffalo, he served in the United States Army as a Staff Sergeant.
Fox founded Fox Theatres in 1957 with the Sinking Spring Drive-In, the “World’s Largest Cinemascope Screen”, and over the next thirty-three years grew the regional movie theatre circuit to 25 locations with over 100 screens and more than 1000 employees. At its peak, Fox Theatres was one of the largest independently-owned movie theater companies in the U.S. He was a pioneer in the industry, bringing modern suburban movie theaters to markets throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Florida.
The pinnacle of Fox’s career came in 1984, when he was elected President of NATO, an industry trade association representing movie theater owners from across the country. He was a formidable leader of theatrical exhibition at a time when the industry wrestled with existential issues ranging from contentious trade practices to competition from new technologies. He was the last volunteer president of NATO.
Fox was a former board member of the Jewish Federation of Reading, PA, B’nai B’rith, Variety Club and the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years Marcia Spokane Fox, son Donald Fox, daughter Sheryl Fox Myerson, son Herrick “Rick” Fox, sister Lee Redstone and his former wife Helen Fox. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, three stepchildren and seven step-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son Howard in 1978.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Howard Fox Memorial Law Scholarship Fund at the Berks County Community Foundation, bccf.org.
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