Without Jim Paratore, we may not have ever had The Ellen Show.

The founder of TMZ died yesterday at the age of 58 from a heart attack while on a bike trip in France. Ellen took to Twitter to let her fans know what Paratore meant to her, tweeting, "he gave me a chance when no one else would."

Jim Paratore in 2009

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Paratore was instrumental in helping Ellen land her talk show in 2003. When she came out on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, it was considered career suicide, and no one wanted to take a chance on her. But Paratore, then President of Telepictures (a division of Warner Bros.), fought for Ellen and literally went station to station across the country, convincing hesitant general managers that Ellen had the ability to connect with audiences from all walks of life. Twelve Emmy Awards and 11 People's Choice Awards later, it looks like his judgment was spot on.

Jim was not only responsible for creating TMZ back in 2006 and its subsequent TV show, but also produced a number of other shows including The Bachelor, The People's Court and Lopez Tonight.


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