Gilbert O. Herman, 80, producer, actor, TV executive, major general

September 20, 1999|By Alice Lukens | Alice Lukens,SUN STAFF

Gilbert O. Herman, an actor and television executive whose credits include "The Steve Allen Show," "What's My Line" and "Candid Camera," died Sept. 6 of congestive heart failure at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.

Mr. Herman, who was 80, moved to Annapolis about 10 years ago to be closer to family members.

He appeared in the Broadway production of Moss Hart's "Winged Victory" in the 1940s and had roles in motion pictures, including "Romeo and Juliet," "I Was a Male War Bride," "Sands of Iwo Jima" and "Bitter Victory."

In television, he had roles in "I Love Lucy" and "China Smith," and was the lead in six productions of the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Between 1946 and 1955, he was an independent producer and his credits included "The Alan Young Show" on television and the movie "The Kentuckian," starring Burt Lancaster.

From 1955 to 1960, he was an NBC network production executive with "The Steve Allen Show," "The Phil Silvers Show," "Truth or Consequences" and "The Eddie Fisher Show."

In the 1960s, Mr. Herman joined CBS, where he produced programs, including "What's My Line," "I've Got a Secret," the Miss Universe Pageant, NFL Football, "A Tour of the White House with Jacqueline Kennedy" and "Candid Camera."

He used "Candid Camera" techniques in his personal life, often sneaking around the house with a small camera, trying to catch people off-guard, said his niece Deborah L. Goldstein of Mount Ulla, N.C.

"He would keep people in stitches over that," she said.

Born in Philadelphia in 1918, the son of a lawyer, Mr. Herman attended the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor of science degree in economics in 1940. Later, he studied communications techniques at the University of Southern California in 1958 and 1959.

During World War II, he enlisted in the Army and was a film specialist, producing training films. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1942 and served in several staff positions.

He was released from active duty in June 1946 and, the next year, joined the Air Force Reserve, where he held several staff positions with the Office of Information in Los Angeles and at the Pentagon. He was promoted to major general in 1975.

Family members remembered Mr. Herman as a kind man who loved to sketch, take photographs, go to parties, tell stories and make people laugh.

"If someone threw a party, he would be the first person there," said his brother-in-law Joseph Goldstein of Annapolis. "He was that kind of guy."

Family members said Mr. Herman dated many glamorous movie stars but never married.

He is survived by two sisters, Edith H. Feder of Crofton and Shirley H. Goldstein of Annapolis.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 28 in the chapel at Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery.

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