J. Kim Tucci, the longtime chair of Cinema St. Louis’ board of directors, died at age 78 on Monday, March 25.
Kim — the co-founder of the Pasta House Co. and a prominent civic leader — joined the CSL board in 2007 and quickly ascended to his position as chair in January 2008. A passionate movie fan, as abundantly evidenced by the Italian film posters that decorated the walls of the Pasta House restaurants, Kim both ardently promoted the state’s film industry during his tenure as chair of the Missouri Film Commission and helped vastly expand St. Louis’ film-viewing options as CSL grew under his active leadership.
A larger-than-life figure with unmatchable vitality, Kim was a raconteur without equal, a friend to everyone, and a philanthropist always open to any request. Unfailingly supportive and endlessly generous — with time, funding, and food — Kim never missed an opportunity to extol the virtues of Cinema St. Louis, praising the organization so lavishly in his event introductions that the staff members sometimes turned red-faced with embarrassment. But Kim was utterly sincere in his hosannas, and we could not have asked for a better champion.
Kim’s vast contributions to St. Louis and his many good works will be celebrated by an enormously large circle of friends and admirers over the coming weeks. No one is more deserving of such accolades, and we’re pleased that CSL had the opportunity to honor Kim with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. As part of our program, we asked Scott Wibbenmeyer — who had aptly cast Kim as a Godfather-like figure in his comedy “Advertising for the Mob” — to assemble a few stories from a small sampling of the countless people whose lives Kim had touched. As a farewell to Kim, Cinema St. Louis again offers this video tribute.