Comcast founder Ralph Roberts, pioneer of cable television, dies at 95

Industrials Associated Press

Ralph Roberts, a businessman with a gentle demeanor who built Comcast from a small cable TV system in Mississippi into one of the nation's largest entertainment companies, has died. He was 95.

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Comcast says in a statement that Roberts died Thursday night in Philadelphia of natural causes.

Roberts jumped into the fledgling cable TV industry in 1963 by spending $500,000 to buy American Cable Systems, a company in Tupelo, Miss. He then acquired other cable systems, changed the name of the company to Comcast and ran the company until he was in his 80s.

He handed control of the company to one of his sons, Brian, who is now Comcast's chairman and CEO. The younger Roberts expanded beyond his father's vision and led Comcast to own NBCUniversal.