Ted Mann

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Ted Mann (April 16, 1916 – January 15, 2001) was an American businessman, involved in the film industry, and head of Mann Theatres. He famously changed the name of Grauman's Chinese Theater to Mann's Chinese Theater when he purchased the National General Theatre chain that owned it in 1973. Born in Wishek, North Dakota, Mann started off in the movie business as an usher around the time he attended the University of Minnesota in the 1930s. He rented the Selby Theatre in Saint Paul, Minnesota for $100 a month and began to build his own company. He ran the theater almost completely by himself, expanding to 25 venues within a few years.

Mann sold the theaters to General Cinema Corporation in 1970 and moved to California. The first production to his credit was 1969's The Illustrated Man, based on a Ray Bradbury book. He didn't stay out of the theater business for long, and purchased the troubled 276-screen National General Theatre chain in 1973. Mann soon expanded the chain to 360 screens, but again sold off his theaters in 1986, this time to Gulf+Western, which later renamed itself to Paramount Communications (which itself became part of Viacom). Grauman's Theater eventually regained its original name in late 2001.

Both the Orpheum and Pantages venues of today's Hennepin Theatre District in Minneapolis were once owned by Mann. He eventually owned at least six theaters in the city's downtown region. The Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis is named for him. He married actress Rhonda Fleming in 1977, and they remained together until Mann died at age 84 in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke.

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