Man Who Co-Created an MTV Staple Is Killed by Taxi

Jim Burns helped come up with 'MTV Unplugged,' which debuted in 1989
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 27, 2017 1:26 PM CST
Co-Creator of MTV Unplugged Is Killed by Taxi
In this Sept. 3, 1996, file photo, traffic moves along 6th Avenue in New York, over the logo painted in the street outside Radio City Music Hall for the MTV Music Video Awards ceremony.   (AP Photo/Todd Plitt, File)

The co-creator of MTV Unplugged was struck by a taxi while crossing Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and later died. Jim Burns was struck Saturday, the AP reports. The taxi turned onto the avenue and accidentally struck the 65-year-old, who had been walking with his seeing-eye dog near his Upper East Side home, police said. (Burns had an unspecified vision problem.) Burns suffered a serious head injury and died from his injuries Tuesday. The taxi driver remained at the scene following the incident; police were still investigating. An MTV spokeswoman said the network was deeply saddened to learn of the death.

Burns co-created MTV Unplugged with Robert Small. The wildly popular show debuted in 1989 at the height of MTV's musical and cultural influence in America. It featured artists such as Nirvana, Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, and Bob Dylan in an intimate venue performing stripped-down versions of their songs. "As co-creator of the beloved Unplugged franchise, his groundbreaking work continues to resonate with audiences around the world. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones," says a statement from MTV. The music series returned to the air this year, with performances from locations around the country that hold meaning for the artist performing. It premiered in September with Shawn Mendes.

(More MTV stories.)

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