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William O’Hare

April 27, 2018
Lake Placid News

William "Bill" O'Hare, longtime movie marketing executive for the film industry, died from lung cancer on Monday, April 2, 2018, at age 88. O'Hare quietly passed away at the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) in Woodland Hills, California, and was lovingly surrounded by family and close friends.

Born in 1930 in Lake Placid, O'Hare took his passion for the movies and made it into a livelihood in promoting them. His career spanned three prolific decades, from the 1950s to the 1980s. He started humbly as an assistant manager at Century Theatres in Brooklyn and rose through the ranks, working his way up to vice president of advertising and publicity for major studios including DCA, MGM, Cinema Center Films (CCF), Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures.

Using the medium of film posters, O'Hare was integral to the marketing of iconic films such as "Dr. Zhivago," an anniversary reboot of "Gone With The Wind," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "The Dirty Dozen," "Viva Las Vegas," "Le Mans" and "The Bad News Bears," to name a few. To illustrate his art direction on these posters, O'Hare collaborated with a collective of talented graphic designers and artists who became major successes themselves. This group included Tom Jung, Howard Terpning, Bob McCall and many others.

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O'Hare also learned from the best in the movie industry and worked for the upper crust of studio executives including Walter Reade Jr. of Continental Films, Dan Terrell and Robert O'Brien of MGM, William S. Paley and Gordon Stulberg of CCF and Bob Evans, Stanley Jaffe and Barry Diller of Paramount Pictures. Furthermore, he worked with esteemed directors David Lean, Robert Aldrich and Stanley Kubrick.

O'Hare's tenure also marked the beginnings of when movie stars and personalities took a solid interest in the advertising, publicizing and promotion of their movies. Consequently, he associated with iconic actors/celebrities such as Harold Lloyd, John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Richard Harris, Elvis Presley, Jack Lemon and Steve McQueen, to name a few.

In O'Hare's book "Movie Magic: a Marketing Memoir," he recaps some of the exciting highlights in working with these executives, directors and actors. Though the memoir also tells tales of some challenging times with such complex personalities.

"In my wildest dreams, I never imagined a kid from the tiny hamlet of Lake Placid, New York, would someday be working at these mythical companies, much less meeting and working with movie stars. Even more astonishing was that these stars would actually listen to what I have to say," stated O'Hare in his memoir.

In his retirement years, O'Hare enjoyed two of his favorite pastimes, golf and photography. He settled in the city of Burbank, neighboring the Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios. He later moved to Woodland Hills, California, where he passed. O'Hare is survived by his daughter Billianne, and sons, Robert Jr., Matthew and Mike.

Private memorial services for O'Hare were held April 11 at the Louis B. Mayer Theater at the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

 
 

 

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