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Commodore founder Jack Tramiel passes away
Commodore founder Jack Tramiel passes away
April 9, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

April 9, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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Jack Tramiel, a Holocaust survivor and an essential figure in the personal computer industry, passed away on Sunday, according to a report from Forbes. He was 83 years old.

Tramiel was best known for founding Commodore in the early 1950s, building what began as a typewriter and calculator business into the company that would release popular home computers like the VIC-20 and Commodore 64.

He left the company in 1984 to start Tramel Technology, and later purchased Atari's home console and computer divisions from Warner Communications (now Time Warner) following the video game crash the year before.

Tramiel and his son Sam -- who took over Atari Corp. as president and CEO in the late 1980s -- oversaw the company's launches of PCs and game consoles like the Atari ST, Lynx, and Jaguar until the family sold the firm to JT Storage in 1996.

Born Idek Tramielski in 1928, Tramiel grew up in Poland during World War II as Germany occupied the country. His family survived a detention at Auschwitz, but Tramiel and his father were forced to work at a labor camp near Hanover, Germany for several months -- his father died at the camp.

The U.S. Army liberated the camp when Tramiel was 16. He eventually married another Holocaust survivor, emigrated to the U.S. in 1947, and joined the U.S. Army, where he learned to repair typewriters and other equipment -- a skill that would lead to him establishing Commodore, according to a Fortune article reprinted by Commodore.ca.

Tramiel passed away surrounded by his family. He is survived by three sons, Gary, Sam, and Leonard, and his wife, Helen.


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Comments


Todd Boyd
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My heartfelt thanks for his effort. I never had a Commodore (or an Atari, etc.), but I certainly recognize the impact they had on modern computing/gaming.

R Hawley
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He was a great player.

Kevin Patterson
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He was the American dream. A hard working immigrant who built the commodore empire.

Alan Rimkeit
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Thanks for all the good times Mr. Tramiel. I loved the Commodore 64 and have many memories of gaming on it as a kid. RIP and condolences to the family. He helped keep gaming alive and well till Nintendo took it over from there. I always wished that they kept the Commodore line alive. Such is the life of business I suppose.

Eric Kinkead
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Condolences to Jack Tramiel's family. It was EXCELLENT making games on the Atari ST brand back in the 80's as a teen!!!

|||
/|\ Fuji's up!

Eric Kinkead
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Condolences to Jack Tramiel's family. It was EXCELLENT making games on the Atari ST brand back in the 80's as a teen!!!

|||
/|\ Fuji's up!

Megan Swaine
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I think it's safe to say that if I hadn't played Maniac Mansion (or numerous other text adventures) on the Commodore 64 when I was a kid, I would never have been interested in going into gaming.

Nathan Champion
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"Born Idek Tramielski in 1939, Tramiel grew up in Poland during World War II as Germany occupied the country."
"The U.S. Army liberated the camp when Tramiel was 16."

You might want to reexamine the year you gave for his birth. Or examine the idea that he was given a secret Nazi serum by ancient aliens.

Eric Caoili
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Thanks for pointing that out! I've edited the year to reflect his birth, instead of the year Nazis invaded Poland. As for the ancient aliens' Nazi serum -- is such a thing even possible?

kevin williams
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I was able to work with Jack, while at Andromeda headed by another visionary to what the consumer game industry could be (Robert Stein) - both hardworking and under promoted in making the industry what it is today - while others took the bows.

As said by SPONG, the industry needs more visionaries of this kind to move to the next level. He will be missed.


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