Winter D. Horton Jr., a leader in public broadcasting since the 1960s, died Nov. 12 in Pasadena, Calif. He was 80.
In 1964 Horton was among the founders of Los Angeles public television station KCET. From 1965 until 1970, he served as v.p. for development at National Educational Television, a predecessor of PBS. In 1972 and 1973, he was a consultant to the Children’s Television Workshop, producers of Sesame Street. In the 1970s and ’80s he founded and headed Centre Films Inc., which created films, videos and documentaries for PBS and commercial networks.
Also in the 1970s, Horton met Robert Bennett, who was elected to the U.S. Senate from Utah in 1992. Horton became communications director for the Utah Republican; he was later put in charge of special projects. In 1997, with encouragement from Bennett, President Clinton appointed Horton to the CPB Board, where he served until 2002. He joined KCET’s Board in 2006.
In February 2003, the CPB Board passed a resolution in appreciation of his service, praising his “wealth of experience in media and broadcasting; his commitment to preserving the value of educational programming; and his devotion to upholding the noncommercial integrity of public broadcasting.”
Horton was born June 2, 1929, in San Gabriel, Calif. He attended the Midland School in Los Olivos, and had a bachelor’s degree in speech from Pomona College in Claremont. At age 19 he worked as a gofer for his uncle, character actor Edward Everett Horton.
Horton is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol; daughters Sarah Anderson of Honoka’a, Hawaii, and Katherine Safford of Pasadena; son Winter W. Horton of Pasadena; and five grandchildren.
Plans for private services are pending.