TMZ Founder Jim Paratore Dead at 58

Television executive and TMZ founder Jim Paratore died Tuesday of a heart attack during a cycling trip in France.

Paratore, 58, spent most of his professional career working for Warner Bros. He was responsible for not only starting the wildly popular entertainment website and TV show, but was the mastermind behind The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Bachelor and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“The Warner Bros. Television family has lost an incredibly talented and creative friend and colleague in Jim,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president, Warner Bros. Television Group.  “He has left an indelible mark not only on our company’s success but on each of us who worked with him during the past 26 years. Jim had a passion for life, both inside and outside the entertainment industry, and he will truly be missed.”

“Jim was a mentor to me for many years. He never feared a good, unconventional idea … he reveled in rebellion,” Harvey Levin tweeted. “Ellen is such a good example. No one wanted to hire Ellen after she came out. Jim knew how talented she was & went station by station, convincing the suits to buy the show. I’m going on and on because he was so impactful in my life and the lives of so many others … he was brilliant, strategic and really funny.”

Jim is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique Paratore.