Frank Agrama, Founder and Chairman of Harmony Gold, passed away peacefully last evening at his home with his family by his side. Born on January 1, 1930, Agrama was 93 years of age.
Agrama had a true-to-life story more exciting than most Hollywood scripts. As a child actor in Egypt who had his very own television show, he was earning more than his father, the Surgeon General of Egypt. But when it came time to attend University, Agrama put his artistic ambitions on hold and followed in his father's masterful footsteps by studying medicine and surgery at the University of Cairo. At 23 years of age, he became a Medical Doctor upon receiving his degree in medicine and surgery.
Although he had started his medical practice, Frank’s professional ambitions were not satisfied by this avenue. He therefore decided to leave Egypt for what he saw as the more promising world of Los Angeles. Soon he enrolled in the University of California Los Angeles, and before his 30th birthday he added a Bachelor of Theater Arts degree to his list of academic credits having graduated with honors.
In 1964 Agrama moved back to the Middle East to start up Lebanon's movie industry. Bringing in his own technical experts from Italy and Egypt, he and his eclectic group of pioneers succeeded in producing the nation's first 15 films within just five years. His momentum was interrupted, however, by the outbreak of the Six-Day War in 1967.
With his wife, Olfet, and their two young children, Agrama relocated to Italy where he founded Film Association of Rome, a theatrical production and distribution company that handled over 20 films per year. After nine prolific years in Italy, Agrama and his wife decided to return to the United States and join their children who were engaged in their studies at California universities.
While his children were adapting to university life, Agrama made a few adjustments himself. In light of the advancing opportunities in international television, he changed his focus from film to television. Once back in California, Agrama launched the groundwork for what would probably be his greatest professional achievement -- Harmony Gold.
Since its inception in 1983, Harmony Gold has been active in the production, acquisition, and distribution of international television programming. During its first year of operation Harmony Gold launched “Shaka Zulu,” which was the most successful first-run syndicated miniseries in the history of television.
One of Harmony Gold's other flagship titles is “Robotech”, the 1985 Japanese anime franchise that includes a groundbreaking TV series, two feature films, novels, comic books, toys, and extensive merchandise. Sony Pictures is set to produce the full-length live action feature with Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari producing.
Agrama leaves behind his wife of 70 years, Olfet Agrama, son Ahmed Agrama (Lena), daughter Jehan Agrama (Dwora Fried), brother Hani Agrama (Roberta), sister Amina Ramzy, grandchildren Maya, Natasha, Frankie, Anjoum Anissa, Tayo, Marli, and the Harmony Gold family and friends. Per his request, there will be a small family service only. For those wanting to make a donation on his behalf, please consider Doctors Without Borders, World Central Kitchen or the LA Mission. There will be a memorial at Harmony Gold in May.