Benefactor of Bowl Sunrise Service Dies : Hugo (Bud) Herrmann, Longtime Chairman of Event, Was 60

Times Religion Writer

Hugo Paul (Bud) Herrmann, a pianist and hotel musical director who dipped into his own pocket each year to help the struggling Hollywood Bowl Easter Sunrise Services continue, has died at age 60 from an illness he developed before this year’s successful event.

“He had a loss of energy and strength before Easter, but he was determined he wouldn’t take any time off for himself,” said Herrmann’s wife, Maurice. Herrmann, hospitalized for two weeks, died last Saturday in Hollywood of severe pneumonia, she said.

Herrmann, known as Bud to his friends and other musicians, played piano at the Hotel Bel Air for the last 20 years; he was also musical director there. Before that he performed on the road for 11 years, two of those with Benny Goodman.

Herrmann and his wife became involved with the Easter sunrise service committee 22 years ago when their 5-year-old daughter, Trina, joined the Youth Chorus that annually forms a white cross on the Bowl’s stage.


For the last 12 years, Herrmann served as the unpaid committee chairman for the $30,000 event. “We start from scratch each year,” he said in an interview this year. “If you want the benefits (of your community), you have to be prepared to give something in return,” said Herrmann, who was born in the Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles and lived in Hollywood.

Financial problems threatened the Easter service’s renewal in 1978 despite the usual donation of time by entertainment figures and a variety of ecumenically minded church groups. Labor, equipment and leasing costs were not usually offset by contributions at the service or by the broadcast rights payments by radio and television stations.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Philharmonic said Herrmann personally gave thousands of dollars each year to make the services, which date to the inception of the Bowl in 1921, possible.

For the 65th annual service last April 7, good weather boosted attendance to about 14,000 from a recent average of about 10,000 worshipers.


In lieu of flowers, his family is asking donations to Hollywood Bowl Easter Sunrise Services, P.O. Box 10, Hollywood, Calif. 90028.