Theater exec, former Walk of Fame chairman
William “Bill” Frederick Hertz, a longtime theater executive and former chairman of the Hollywood Walk of Fame who is one of the few non-celebrities whose handprints and footprints are in the forecourt of Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, has died. He was 84.
Hertz died Aug. 19 at his home in Tarzana of complications from heart surgery, said his granddaughter Jennifer Pickett.
Hertz was the longtime director of marketing and public relations for Mann Theatres until his retirement in 1991 but remained with the company as a consultant until recently.
For more than 20 years, he oversaw the handprint and footprint ceremonies for Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and for more than a decade served as master of ceremonies for the dedication and installation of hundreds of celebrity “stars” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He also compiled a diverse record of community involvement, serving as president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Hollywood Revitalization Committee and chairman of the Santa Claus Lane Parade. He also was a board member and former president of the William H. Parker Los Angeles Police Foundation
In 1999, Hertz’s handprints and footprints were preserved in concrete in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater in recognition of his community service and dedication to the motion picture industry.
Hertz was born Dec. 5, 1923, in Wishek, N.D., and served as an Army staff sergeant in Europe during World War II. After the war, he came to Los Angeles and began working as a manager for Fox West Coast Theatres.
He moved up through the ranks and, by 1965, was appointed first-run district manager for the Los Angeles market. In 1967, he was promoted to Pacific division manager after National General’s takeover of the chain. After Ted Mann purchased National General, Hertz was named director of theater operations.
He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Ruth; two sons, William F. Hertz II of Glendale and Stephen L. Hertz of Spokane, Wash.; a daughter, Mary E. Kulisch of Spokane, Wash.; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.