Walter E. Calmette Sr., Film Executive and Longtime Felix the Cat Rep, Dies at 85

Walter E. Calmette Sr., a veteran film sales executive who oversaw licensing and merchandising for the iconic Felix the Cat cartoon character for more than 30 years, has died. He was 85.

Calmette died Jan. 6 at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena of complications of heart failure, his family announced.

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Calmette joined New World Entertainment in 1984 as senior vp acquisitions, working in ancillary sales, licensing, merchandising and theatrical acquisitions worldwide. The experience led him to be hired by the Oriolo family to run business affairs for Felix the Cat Productions, overseeing worldwide merchandising and licensing deals for the company.

Calmette came to the U.S. from Peru in 1958. While putting himself through school, he got his start in the entertainment business in 1962 with an entry-level position at Films Incorporated in Hollywood, where he learned how to be a film salesman.

He traveled to college campuses across the country and eventually led the Hollywood office for the Chicago-based firm as he cultivated relationships with studio and theater sales colleagues.

Calmette jumped to Avco Embassy Pictures in 1980, starting out as director of nontheatrical sales. He was promoted to vice president as his responsibilities increased to servicing hotels and airlines.

His daughter, Kira Calmette Feola, is a leading awards specialist in Hollywood.

Survivors also include his wife of 63 years, Mila; son Walter Jr. and daughter-in-law Heidi; son-in-law Andrew; and who he called his “Magnificent Seven” grandsons: Michael, Andrew, John, Nico, Alex, Mathew and Michael.

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