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Nicholas W. Russo, 75, was TV producer


Nicholas W. Russo, 75, who raised thoroughbred horses with his daughter in Frederick County and was the creator and producer of a widely syndicated sports television show in the 1960s, died Saturday at Frederick Memorial Hospital of complications from diabetes.

Funeral services were private.

Since 1988, Mr. Russo has raised horses with his daughter, Stephanie Peddicord, at Brush Hill Farm near New Market.

He was chairman of the board of GG Communications, which he started after he created the sports show, which was called "The Flying Fisherman."

A native of Boston, he worked as a publicity agent in Hollywood before World War II, when he served in the Army Air Force as a bombardier stationed in the Aleutians.

Returning to Hollywood, he produced plays at the Beaux Arts Theatre and started a talent agency, Rusdan Inc., with John Danyo.

In 1952, he returned to Boston, wrote radio and television commercials and became managing director of the New England Summer Theater.

Mr. Danyo, a longtime friend, said about Mr. Russo's idea for a fishing program, "Everyone in the business told him that kind of show wouldn't go." The show featured fishing authority and tackle salesman Vern Gaddis, who flew all over the country in his own plane.

The pilot of the show was an instant success when tested in New York, and the show was nominated for an Emmy award in 1967.

GG Communications specialized in children's programming and obtained the rights to foreign films, including a 1975 Japanese animated production of "The Little Mermaid." Released on videotape in 1989, the movie sold 600,000 copies, winning a sales award from the International Tape Association.

Fond of golf, Mr. Russo was a member of the Holly Hills Country Club in Frederick and the Wollaston Golf Club in Milton, Mass.

Besides his daughter, survivors include his wife of 40 years, the former Inez Clavijo; two sons, Anthony Richard Russo of Quincy, Mass., and Dr. Thomas A. Russo of Rockville; and two grandchildren.

The family said memorial contributions could be made to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Mr. Russo was a member of the Joslin board.

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