One of the most successful television executives in the world of boxing and entertainment, Jay Larkin, passed away this morning at Nyack Hospital in Nyack, NY at the age of 59. Larkin had been battling cancer. Services will be held Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Beth David Cemetery (300 Elmont Road) in Elmont, NY.
Larkin put together a franchise that stood atop the world of boxing and television while at SHOWTIME from 1984 to 2006 with the creation of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, SHOBOX: THE NEW GENERATION and a pay-per-view business that was second to none with the promotion of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Cesar Chavez, Felix Trinidad and many other Hall of Fame greats in the boxing world. Larkin was considered one of the most powerful professionals in the world of boxing.
Larkin was responsible for the programming, acquisition and production of the company’s boxing franchise as well as comedy and music specials for the premium television network. He worked his way up at the network to become Senior Vice President, Senior Executive Producer Sports & Event Programming at SHOWTIME.
It all began in 1986, when Larkin produced SHOWTIME’s first fight with Marvin Hagler and continued with him producing more of Mike Tyson’s fights than anyone else including a record $100,000,000 revenue night featuring Tyson-Holyfield II. He was very instrumental in the career of Evander Holyfield.
Larkin was involved in the marketing, distribution and production of many record setting and award-winning pay per view concerts featuring Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Sting, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr., Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Jay Z, The Spice Girls and the BackStreet Boys to name a few.
He also was in charge of many comedy specials and documentaries and worked with Tim Allen, Ellen DeGeneres, Jon Stewart, Drew Carey, Dennis Leary and Dave Chappelle to name a few. He was also the SHOWTIME executive in charge of the Broadway hit at the Cort Theater, “Laugh Whore” starring Mario Cantone, which received a Tony Award nomination.
Larkin was very involved in the world of professional theater and performing arts. He held bachelor’s degrees in theater and directing from C.W. Post College of Long Island University and also studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.
Following his career at SHOWTIME, he joined the International Fight League as their COO in 2007-2008.
Larkin is survived by his wife, Lisa, and their two sons, Ryan and Gabriel.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in Jay Larkin’s name to the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, % Duke University Medical Center, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, North Carolina 27710 or online by visiting http://www.cancer.duke.edu/btc/.