Emiel N. Petrone, a key player in the U.S. introduction of the DVD and CD formats, died yesterday (Aug. 23) in Los Angeles after a brief illness. He was 61.

Emiel N. Petrone, a key player in the U.S. introduction of the DVD and CD formats, died yesterday (Aug. 23) in Los Angeles after a brief illness. He was 61.

Petrone helped to create the DVD Video Group, an alliance of 50 content providers, technology companies and retailers, in 1997. The nonprofit consortium, for which Petrone served as chairman, was formed to promote DVD Video and is credited with making the format the fastest-adopted consumer electronics product ever.

The L.A.-based group was rechartered in January 2000 as the DVD Entertainment Group, in order to incorporate the new DVD Audio format. Last year, it was rechartered again as the Digital Entertainment Group to reflect its goal of promoting other emerging formats. Petrone was still serving as chairman.

Petrone also headed the team that introduced the CD in the U.S. for PolyGram in 1982. He created the Compact Disc Group of America with 40 consumer electronics manufacturers and record companies. The group's goal was to increase consumer awareness of the new format.

Petrone was acting as executive VP of Philips Electronics Corporate Alliance Group at the time of his death.

He is survived by wife Marilyn, mother Mary, brother Frank, sister Anne and nephew Peter. A memorial service will be held Thursday (Aug. 26) at the Church of the Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive in Los Angeles at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the T.J. Martell Foundation.