Ed Spivia, Georgia’s tireless ambassador to Hollywood and a visionary who decades ago grasped the role film production could play in the state’s economy, died Saturday.
He was Georgia’s first film commissioner in the early 1970s and his friendship with Burt Reynolds during that period helped lure the production of films such as “Smokey and the Bandit” and “The Longest Yard” to the state.
Spivia, 78, was surrounded by family at his home on Lake Lanier when he passed away from complications brought on by Lewy body dementia, which he had lived with for several years, according to his wife, Barbara Spivia.
He grew up in Murphy, North Carolina, and came to Atlanta in 1965 to work as an announcer and radio reporter with WGST. A few years later, he took a job with the Georgia Department of Industry and Trade. It was in that role that he visited the set of “Deliverance,” which was filming in Rabun County, to write a piece for Georgia Trend magazine. See more at AJC.