Garth H Drabinsky
Garth Drabinsky became noted as a flamboyant, free-spending producer and those excesses ultimately led to his being dismissed from two major corporations which he founded. The Canadian-born son of an engineer, he spent much of his childhood suffering through various leg operations that were the result of a 1953 bout with polio. Perhaps to overcompensate, Drabinsky excelled in his life, nurturing an oversized ego and a theatrical style and flair. After completing law school, he worked for a time as an entertainment lawyer and even wrote a textbook on Canadian film production and the law by the time he was 25. Drabinsky apparently applied what he'd learned when he moved into feature filmmaking as executive producer of the above-average comedy "The Silent Partner" (1978, which marked the screenwriting debut of Curtis Hanson). The following year he co-founded the Cineplex Odeon Corporation, taking one 18-screen theater complex and eventually transforming it into over 1,800 screens across the USA and Canada. He did not win many fans, however, when Cineplex Odeon raised its ticket prices in NYC to the then-unheard of price of $7.50. Despite a seeming success, Drabinsky brought MCA in as a partner in the chain in 1986. Nevertheless, by the end of 1988 the enterprise was carrying long-term debt in excess of $700 million against $1.5 billion in assets, causing stock prices to decline. In the ensuing power struggle for control of Cineplex Odeon, Drabinsky was ousted, receiving a reported $4 million severance package.