Paul Eckstein, ‘Godfather of Harlem’ Co-Creator, Dies at 59

Paul Eckstein, co-creator of the TV series “Godfather of Harlem,” died Tuesday, an Amazon publicist confirmed to Variety. He was 59.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of our brilliant colleague, Paul Eckstein, the co-creator and executive producer of ‘Godfather of Harlem’ and a beloved member of the MGM+ and ABC Signature families. Working on the series was a labor of love for Paul who based the show in part on his family’s personal history. Paul was passionate, a creative force, known for his kindness, and generosity. He was a mentor and friend to many, and he will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and his longtime collaborator Chris Brancato,” MGM+ and ABC Signature said in a joint statement. 

Eckstein served as a co-creator, executive producer and writer on the Emmy-award-winning series “Godfather of Harlem,” which stars Forest Whitaker as a Harlem mobster.

Eckstein was born and raised in Brooklyn and attended Brown University, graduating with honors and receiving degrees in international relations and creative writing. Upon graduation, he dove into the entertainment industry via New York City theater. He was a founding member of the Naked Angels Theater Company, which was featured on Broadway, Shakespeare in the Park and Minnesota’s Guthrie Theater. He then shifted into acting, producing and writing different TV and film projects. As an actor, he appeared on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager,” and his writing credits included “Street Time,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “The Dead Zone.”

He served as a co-producer on MGM’s “Hoodlum,” and led the writers room on the first year of Netflix’s drama “Narcos.” He co-created “Godfather of Harlem” alongside his writing partner, Chris Brancato. Ekcstein is an executive producer on the forthcoming series “August Snow,” led by Keegan-Michael Key.

He is survived by his wife, Hala Khouri, and his sons, Sebastian and Marley Eckstein.

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