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Bernard B. Jacobs, president of the Shubert Organization, the largest owner of Broadway theaters, has died from complications following bypass surgery. He was 80.

Jacobs died Tuesday, said Shubert chairman Gerald Schoenfeld. He called Jacobs "one of the best friends the theater ever had."Jacobs initiated the program under which thousands of New York City schoolchildren attended the theater as guests of the Shubert Organization. He also supervised the installation of a system for computerized telephone sales of tickets at box offices.

Jacobs became president of the Shubert Organization in 1972. He and Schoenfeld also jointly ran the company, which owns 17 Broadway theaters and co-owns another, the Music Box Theater, with the estate of songwriter Irving Berlin.

The company also owns theaters in Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles, and manages the National Theater in Washington, D.C.

The organization produces plays, and its credits include "Cats," "Passion," "The Heidi Chronicles," "Amadeus," "Dreamgirls," "Sunday in the Park with George" and "Children of a Lesser God."

At the time of his death, Jacobs was also president of the Shubert Foundation, a separate philanthropic entity, and vice president of the League of American Theaters and Producers.

He was an adjunct professor of theater at the Columbia School of the Arts and was a longtime trustee of the Actors' Fund of America.

The New York native was a graduate of New York University and the Columbia School of Law. Before becoming president of the Shubert Organization, he was its in-house counsel.