Industry leader Leo Cassettari dies

Leo Cassettari, one of Chicago’s great production and post leaders and inspiration for 40 years, died Sept. 25 from a lengthy battle with cancer.

His friend Tony Izzo called him “a good man, a man of fierce principles and ethics, who set an example for others during Chicago’s great golden age of TV spot production.”

An accountant by trade, Mr. Cassettari had been a major force in spot production starting in the late 1960s when he worked for Wilding Studios and learning all aspects of production. He was instrumental in convincing Wilding to open a commercial division which he was chosen to head. When Wilding shuttered, Mr. Cassettari and six partners started Studio Seven, and Edit Seven.

The two leading companies had as clientele all the top agencies and worked on the city’s biggest television accounts. It was the first local studio with a Los Angeles branch.

As business declined in the early ?80s, Mr. Cassettari led the community in forming the Chicago Coalition, a hard-working collaboration that elevated TV production out of the doldrums within a short period of time.

Studio Seven was located in a building that was in the path of Streeterville development and was forced to close when the building was razed. Editor Tony Izzo put Mr. Cassettari’s talents to work as a producer in his Edit Chicago, where he remained until Edit Chicago dissolved. He then went into another business outside of film.

He is survived by his wife, Kathy, son Steven and daughter Dawn, three grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.