Santikos Theatres founder, owner dies at 87

John Louis Santikos known for building family-owned theatre circuit

SAN ANTONIO – John Louis Santikos, credited for building one of the largest family-owned theatre circuits in Texas died Tuesday after a short illness. He was 87.

"People who knew him and with whom he worked over the years will be deeply affected by his loss," said Janice Bunch, COO of Santikos Theatres. "He was a wonderful mentor to the over 1,500 employees in his operations."

Joe Kryszak, CFO of Santikos Theatres, said Santikos was well-known in San Antonio for his patronage of the arts and generous support of non-profit and educational institutions.

"He will long be remembered for his innovative spirit, business success and community involvement," said Kryszak.

Santikos is survived by his daughter, Violet Santikos, sister Kiki Pringle, a grand-daughter and nephew. Funeral arrangements are pending.

His long-time attorney and his estate executor, J. Bradley Jones, said Santikos' contributions to the city of San Antonio will continue to be long-lasting.

"It was his wish that the theater and real estate operations continue in their current form," said Jones. "He had created the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation in 2011, which will be operated by the San Antonio Area Foundation."

Santikos grew Santikos Theatres rapidly, purchasing and building theaters up through the Texas real estate downturn of 1987, when he sold all his theaters to Act III Theatres, owned by TV impresario Norman Lear. Act III later sold all of its theaters, including those in San Antonio, to Regal Cinema. When Regal filed for bankruptcy in 2001, John Santikos was able to buy back all the San Antonio theaters he had originally sold to Act III.

Santikos Theatres today include seven in San Antonio -- Palladium IMAX, Silverado 16, Mayan 14, Northwest 14, Embassy 14, Bijou Cinema Bistro and Rialto Brewhaus -- with an eighth theater, Casa Blanca, said to open in fall 2015.

About the Author: