Living Legends: MORTON G. THALHIMER JR.
RETIRED PRESIDENT, NEIGHBORHOOD THEATRE INC., RICHMOND
In 1926, Thalhimer’s father started Neighborhood Theatre Inc. (branded as Neighborhood Theaters), which grew to a chain with 25 locations and a combined 76 screens, stretching from Virginia to Washington, D.C., and Maryland. The junior Thalhimer took over the family movie theater business, becoming CEO in 1948. He also served as chairman of the National Association of Theatre Owners.
Following picketing and letter-writing campaigns by Arlington civil rights advocates in the 1960s, Thalhimer played a quiet role in desegregating movie theaters in Virginia and Washington, D.C., reaching out to local ministers to tell them that Neighborhood Theaters wanted to racially integrate its auditoriums without publicity. “We thought it should be done, and fortunately it turned out to be successful,” he recalls. In 1986, he orchestrated the $21 million sale of Neighborhood Theatre to Cineplex Odeon Corp., then one of North America’s largest movie exhibitors.
Thalhimer, 98, also served as a trustee of the Richmond Memorial Hospital Foundation, which supported the hospital that was co-founded by his father, Morton Thalhimer Sr., who also founded mid-Atlantic commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.