- LOS ANGELES
William “Bill” Curran, who made an indelible mark on the production house and ad agency sides of the business, passed away at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles on September 18 at the age of 73 from prostate cancer. Known to his friends and colleagues as “Mr. Bill” or “Wild Bill,” Curran, of Flintridge, Calif., died surrounded by his family and friends, accompanied by music, laughs and military honors.
Curran became the first executive producer and head of commercial production for Propaganda Films in 1988, a prolific and successful music video and film production company founded by producers Steve Golin and Sigurjón Sighvatsson with directors David Fincher, Michael Bay, Nigel Dick, David Lynch and Dominic Sena that was producing a third of the nation’s music videos by 1990. Curran went on to lead many commercial production companies as executive producer including Lovinger, Grasso & Cohn, Dick James, SEE Company, Portal Pictures, SPIN Branded Entertainment and Adore Creative. Additionally Curran crossed over to the agency side to manage large scale productions for J. Walter Thompson, Foote Cone and Belding, David&Goliath, Rubin Postaer and Associates, Ketchum Advertising, Conductor Advertising and many others.
Curran was an early pioneer managing productions for many international commercial film production companies. He co-founded Associated Filmmakers International with Tim Tennant in 1978 to coordinate the expanding needs of Hollywood quality productions for international commercial campaigns. These campaigns originated from Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom resulting in productions that took Curran around the world. These experiences and production challenges crystallized Curran’s skills as a “master conductor of chaos” that served him well in work and life.
“Bill was your greatest ally on any production,” stated Tennant. “Bill’s attention to detail and production knowledge turned the vision of an advertising campaign into reality. These qualities and his contagious laugh were beloved by everyone he worked with. The crazier a production became, the more the calming effect of Bill’s experience and humorous point-of-view emerged, saving many productions.”
Curran began his career during the 1970s when budgets often were big, and ads were creative and grand. Working as a freelance line producer for many of the best-known production companies based in Los Angeles and New York resulted in Curran becoming one of the first Directors Guild of America members to qualify as unit production manager and first assistant director based upon his commercial production experience. Curran became a mentor to many individuals joining the DGA in the years that followed.
Production was a natural for Curran, as he was a United States Army captain who served as battalion/squadron staff officer. Curran was also well educated in film, having received his Master’s in Film Production from the University of Southern California (’72) and a Master’s in Radio & Television Production and Communications from Syracuse University in NY (’70).
Curran is survived by his wife of 29 years Andrea, son Collin, daughter Tessa and Lauren Pokomo. Curran was a devoted husband and father and friend to many. Born in Pikesville, Maryland where many of his cousins, friends and extended family still reside. He had many interests outside of the film industry. He enjoyed music, especially The Rolling Stones, travel, photography, Italian food, and spiritual development..
In lieu of flowers, the Curran family would appreciate a donation or voluntary service to the Veteran’s Hospital of Los Angeles (contact info here for Terri Dunham of the VA Hospital). The care provided to Bill Curran in his battle with prostate cancer was both wonderful and comforting.
A private celebration of life party is being planned for the near future for loved ones and friends to share stories, laughs and memories.