Ronald K. Goldman, head of K-B Theatres, dies at 70

November 22, 2013

Ronald K. Goldman, a former tennis champion who became head of K-B Theatres, his family’s once-dominant, now-defunct chain of Washington area movie houses, died Nov. 13 at his brother’s home in Bethesda. He was 70.

The cause was thyroid cancer, said his brother, Robert K. Goldman.

Ronald Goldman, one of the best tennis players to emerge from Washington in the 1960s, was one of the country’s top-ranked men’s players and won invitations to international tournaments. He was inducted into the athletic hall of fame at his alma mater, Georgetown University. He received a law degree before joining the family’s theater business in the late 1960s.

The K-B chain took its name from Fred Kogod and his brother-in-law, Max Burka, who started the business in the mid-1920s. Kogod was Mr. Goldman’s grandfather. Over the decades, K-B became one of the region’s largest independently owned chains, and its MacArthur Theater in the District became a prominent exhibitor of British movies and “art films.”

By the late 1970s, K-B was wholly owned by the Goldmans, with Ronald Goldman as chief executive and his father, Marvin, as president. Ronald eventually took over and carried on the tradition of exhibiting and distributing European films in the United States, notably the French hit “The Return of Martin Guerre” (1982). As K-B faced competition from theater conglomerates in the 1980s, the Goldmans began selling off the MacArthur and other theater properties.

The Goldman family sold most of the K-B theaters in 1992 to David Krasnostein, a lawyer from Australia, and Florida-based investor Jack Burstein. The new owners suddenly shuttered operations in 1994.

Mr. Goldman kept ownership of two Annapolis multiplexes for several more years and owned a multiplex in Calvert County, Md., at the time of death.

Ronald Kogod Goldman, a native Washingtonian, was a 1962 graduate of the private Sidwell Friends School in the District, a 1966 graduate of Georgetown and a 1969 graduate of American University’s law school.

Besides his brother, survivors include his wife of 52 years, Nancy Bailey Goldman of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; two children, Melissa Goldman of Oakland Park, Fla., and Christina Goldman of Myrtle Beach; his father, Marvin J. Goldman of Bethesda; a sister, Caroline Goldman-Cassagnol of Santa Fe, N.M.; and a grandson.

Early in his career, Mr. Goldman was executive producer of blaxploitation films that included “Sweet Jesus, Preacherman” (1973), starring Roger E. Mosley; “The Black Gestapo” (1975), with Rod Perry; and “Brotherhood of Death” (1976), featuring ex-Redskin Roy Jefferson.

Mr. Goldman hired Jefferson and other Redskins to act in “Brotherhood of Death,” the story of Vietnam War veterans who return to their home in the South and fight the Ku Klux Klan.

“I knew some of the Redskins, and I thought they had marquee value and were probably as good actors as the actors in ‘Superfly,’ ” Mr. Goldman told the Washington City Paper in 2005, “so I figured this would make some money.” He kept the budgets tight, and his efforts reputedly paid off.

Adam Bernstein

Adam Bernstein has spent his career putting the "post" in Washington Post, first as an obituary writer and then as editor. The American Society of Newspaper Editors recognized Bernstein’s ability to exhume “the small details and anecdotes that get at the essence of the person” and to write stories that are “complex yet stylish.”
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