MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Mitchell Wolfson, who built a downtown Miami movie theater into the communications-entertainment giant Wometco Enterprises Inc., died of heart failure Friday night. He was 82.
Wolfson, who had suffered two heart attacks in the past year, had been admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center Thursday complaining of chest pains, Wometco spokesman Richard Lehman said. He died at the hospital about 8 p.m. Friday, Lehman said.
Wolfson, a Key West native, bought the Capital Theatre in downtown Miami in 1925. Today the property houses studios of WTVJ-TV Channel 4, the first television station in Florida and one of six now owned by Wometco.
Wometco, which had sales of about $500 million in 1982, also owns a chain of motion picture theaters, a cable television company, a soft drink bottling franchise and various tourist attractions including the Miami Seaquarium.
Wolfson was director and a member of the executive board of the National Association of Theatre Owners of America. He had served as president and chairman of the group's forerunner, the Theatre Owners of America.
He also was a member of the Miami-Dade Community College Foundation board of directors. He helped found the college and was chairman of the board of trustees from 1968 to 1978.
In 1943, Wolfson was elected mayor of Miami Beach. He stepped down after one term. Earlier, he had served two terms as a city councilman.
Wolfson is survived by a daughter, a son, and five grandchildren.