Walter E. Calmette, Sr., a film sales and acquisition executive who oversaw business affairs for Felix the Cat, died Jan. 6. He was 85.
After emigrating to the U.S. from Peru in 1958, Calmette, Sr. got his start in the entertainment business at Films Incorporated while putting himself through school part time. At Films Incorporated, he traveled to college campuses to selll films, eventually overseeing the Hollywood office for the Chicago-based company.
In 1980 he moved to Avco Embassy Pictures, where he became director and later VP of non-theatrical sales, earning top sales honors with hotel and airline clients. He moved to New World Entertainment in 1984 as Sr. VP of acquisitions, where he continued working in ancillary sales, licensing and merchandising as well as theatrical acquisitions. Calmette, Sr. later handled acquisitions and ancillary sales for Studio Three Film Corp. and worked at Reiss Media.
This experience served him well when he was hired by the Oriolo family to run business affairs for Felix the Cat Productions for more than 30 years, overseeing all of the character’s worldwide merchandising and licensing deals. He served as executive producer on video feature “Felix the Cat Saves Christmas.”
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mila; son, Walter Jr., daughter-in-law Heidi, grandchildren Michael, Andrew and John; daughter Kira Calmette Feola, son-in-law Andrew, grandchildren Nico and Alex and “grandsons” Mathew and Michael Bazarevitsch.
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