Hispanic TV Pioneer Omar Marchant Dies

This 1993 photo taken in Mexico to commemorate the Telemundo telenovela division's first efforts features then-network President Joaquín Blaya, SVP of Production Omar Marchant, Creative Services and Special Events Head Cynthia Hudson (then VP of Programming) and Director of Special Events and Director of Production of the Drama Division, Eduardo Suárez. [Photo: HistoriasdelaTV.com]

Omar Marchant, one of the leading early figures of U.S. Hispanic broadcast media, has died at the age of 88 in Miami.

Marchant’s death came early Friday morning (1/5), his family confirmed via social media and by CNN en Español.

Marchant’s career began in Cuba, where he was born. Following the transition in power to Fidel Castro, Marchant left Cuba and landed in South Florida. There, he took a radio job and later shifted to television. That move proved to be fruitful, as Marchant became one of the architects of the U.S. Hispanic television world of today.

This was at Spanish International Network (SIN), the predecessor of Univision. From 1972 through 1994, Marchant was a key leader in the organization, holding the role of VP and Director of Promotions and Special Events. One of his key accomplishments saw the creation of the “Premio Lo Nuestro” awards.

He would later work at Telemundo, where he also played a key role in transforming an also-ran into a strong competitor to Univision.

“The death of Omar Marchant is a hard blow for all of us who had the joy of knowing him and being his friend,” said Eduardo Suárez, a former colleague at Telemundo who would later serve as Vice President of Programming and Production of CNN en Español. “Omar has been an integral part of the development of Hispanic television  in the US, developing media. Omar was a teacher to many of us in everything, he always knew how to balance his career with his family (something very difficult in our profession) and he was one of the pedestals that built Hispanic television in the United States, and I think then “…geez, death is not so true then when the work of life!”

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