Joe Shapiro, 52, husband of tennis star Shriver


Joe Shapiro, the husband of Baltimore tennis star Pam Shriver and the former general counsel for the Walt Disney Co., died Thursday at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., after a long battle with lymphoma. He was 52.

Mr. Shapiro married Ms. Shriver, once the No. 3 tennis player in the world, during a celebrity-studded wedding in December at La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs, Calif. The couple lived in Brentwood, Calif.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School, Mr. Shapiro worked as chief negotiator with the French government on the Disney theme park in Paris, a $2.3 billion hotel and theme park.

Known to wear a Mickey Mouse tie in court, Mr. Shapiro aggressively pursued those who used copyrighted Disney characters without permission -- including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which apologized for using the Snow White character in an Academy Awards broadcast.

Mr. Shapiro worked as a partner at the Los Angeles office of Donovan, Leisure, Newton and Irvine before being lured to Disney in 1985 by Michael Eisner. He left his job as a Disney vice president in 1994 when he was found to have cancer.

About two years later, he began dating Ms. Shriver. The lymphoma, which seemed to be in remission, recurred in July.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Shapiro is survived by a sister, Beth Shapiro of New York; a niece and nephew.

Pub Date: 9/25/99

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