Joseph Youngerman; Longtime Directors Guild Leader
Joseph Youngerman, 89, pioneering executive secretary of the Directors Guild of America. Born in south Chicago, Youngerman moved to Los Angeles in 1923 and began working as an electrician’s helper. Three years later he joined the prop department at Paramount and, under the tutelage of such luminaries as William Wellman and Cecil B. DeMille, rose to assistant director. His films included “Rhythm on the Range” with Bing Crosby, “Men With Wings,” “Beau Geste,” “So Proudly We Hail!” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” During World War II, Youngerman directed Signal Corps films and after the war was a Paramount production executive. He became executive secretary of the guild in 1950 and held the position for 27 years. During his tenure, he negotiated the merger of the Screen Directors Guild with the Radio and Television Directors Guild and Screen Directors International to form the Directors Guild of America. He also supervised the construction of the guild’s national headquarters building on Sunset Boulevard and developed the organization’s pension plan, which he considered his signal achievement. After his retirement from the post, Youngerman continued to work for the guild as a consultant and trustee of its charitable foundation. On Wednesday in Los Angeles of a stroke.