Merv Adelson, now 83, was a co-founder of Lorimar Television, whose productions included Dallas, The Waltons and Knots Landing. Such was the success of Lorimar that Adelson became a multi-millionaire, the Daily Mail reports.
After Lorimar merged with Warner Brothers, Adelson began to invest in internet start-ups, but lost large sums in the Dot-com bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
He met Thea, a lawyer, who is more than 30 years younger, in the early 1990s and they had two daughters. She filed for divorce in 2003, the same year that Adelson declared bankruptcy.
She was granted the couple’s former home in Malibu and Adelson now lives in a small apartment in Santa Monica.
According to a report in the New York Post, he appeared before a Los Angeles court earlier this week and asked for a reduction in monthly child support payment from $20,000 to $2,137.
A further hearing is scheduled for May 16.
Adelson was twice married to legendary US TV host and journalist Barbara Walters, initially from 1981 to 1984, and from 1986 to 1992.
Talking to Vanity Fair magazine last month, Walters recalled their 1985 meeting on a blind date.
“He was a kind, funny, thoughtful man. Would things have worked out differently for Merv if we had stayed together? I don’t know. Probably not – I have no regrets.”
Photo of Santa Monica by David Liu via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence