Thursday, May 24, 2018

Movie Poster Designer Bill Gold Passes On

Bill Gold, a graphic artist who designed movie posters from Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) to J. Edgar (2011), died on May 20 2018 at the age of 97. The cause was complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Bill Gold was born on January 3 1921 in Brooklyn, New York. He was interested from art from a young age and won art prizes at Samuel J. Tilden Hgh School. He received a scholarship to Pratt Institute, where studied advertising and illustration.

After graduating from Pratt Institute he asked the art director of the poster department of Warner Bros.' New York City office for a job. He had young Mr. Gold design posters for such older films as Escape Me Never (1935) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) as a test. The art director was impressed with Bill Gold's work and as a result he was hired. His first assignment would be one of the all time classics, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). The second film for which he designed a poster would be another all time classic, Casablanca (1942). Over the next several years he would design posters for such films as The Big Sleep (1946), Rope (1948), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Mister Roberts (1955), and Splendour in the Grass (1961). During World War II he served three yeas in the United States Army Air Force, making training films.

In 1962, after Warner Bros. closed its New York advertising unit, Bill Gold founded Bill Gold Advertising. As might be expected, Warner Bros. was one of his chief clients. Over the next many years he would design posters for such films as The Music Man (1962), My Fair Lady (1964), Fiddler on the Roof (1970), Alien (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), The Untouchables (1987), and Unforgiven (1992). Over the years he worked with several well-respected directors on multiple projects, including Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, John Boorman, Clint Eastwood, and several others. He collaborated for decades with illustrator Bob Peak, who worked on several of Bill Gold's posters. Not only did Mr. Gold's career span eight decades, but it also involved work on over 2000 posters.

Bill Gold was a remarkable poster designer, remarkable all the more because he had no discernable style. Mr. Gold always designed his posters so that they fitted the movies they were for. His poster for Casablanca (1942) was notably different from his poster for Strangers on the Train (1941), which was in turn different from his poster for Alien (1979). While he varied his style according to the movie he was promoting, his posters were always eye-catching. A poster designed by Bill Gold would always be noticed.

Below are some examples of Mr. Gold's work:

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Casablanca (1942)

Giant (1956)

Barbarella (1968)

The Exorcist (1973)

Alien (1979)

On Golden Pond (1981)

Unforgiven (1992)

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