Arthur Sando, who was PR executive at the fledgling Turner Broadcasting and CNN, died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack on Sept. 3 at Georgetown University Hospital. He was 71.
He headed PR at Turner Broadcasting System, King World/CBS and ION Media and provided long-term counsel to the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, which provides hope and healing to children exposed to domestic violence.
“Arthur was more than a friend; he was a caring, loving extension of our family,” said Ali and Joe Torre. "He had a wonderful zest for life, and his biggest passion was his family. We send our deepest condolences to his children and grandchildren. We are heartbroken over Arthur’s passing.”
Sando was TBS’ first PR director and rose to VP of communications and marketing, responsible for teams in Atlanta, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, London, Moscow and Hong Kong.
A trusted counselor to Ted Turner, Sando devised communications strategies and was company spokesman for such milestone events as the global expansion of CNN, the launches of Headline News and TNT, the attempted takeover of CBS, the purchase of MGM, the introduction of groundbreaking programming on TBS, and the creation and production of the Goodwill Games.
At King World/CBS, he directed publicity for many popular television series, including Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray, Inside Edition, Hollywood Squares and Everybody Loves Raymond.
A much-admired executive in the TV business, Sando was presented with the NCTA’s President’s Award in 1987 and was inducted into the Cable TV Pioneers in 2018.
Sando started his career in Philadelphia as a reporter at WFIL-AM, then recognized as the nation’s leading Top 40 radio station. He went on to became a reporter at WSYR-TV, Syracuse, NY and then served in D.C. as press secretary to Rep. James Hanley (D-NY) before joining TBS.
He later headed corporate affairs for Comsat Corporation and Winstar Communications. Years later, Sando worked for Larry Flynt on First Amendment issues and, as managing partner of Sando Communications, where he worked with MLB Network, Holding Pictures, Tyson Ranch, R-Water, MonaVie and the UN Foundation.
Sando is survived by his daughter, Jackie Shea, and her husband Patrick, of Severna Park, MD; their children, Sadie and Meara; a son, Michael, of Los Angeles; and his ex-wife Karen O’Keefe, of Gaithersburg, MD.
A celebration of his life will be held at 12 noon on Sept. 10 at Nationals Park (home of the Washington Nationals MLB team)
Donations in Sando’s name go to Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, Attn: Tracy Weber-Thomas, 55 W. 39thSt., Suite 600, New York, NY 10018 or online at https://joetorre.org/arthursando/.