Fred W. Kline, a consultant who worked behind the scenes in the entertainment industry in a number of different capacities, died of cancer July 28 in Sacramento. He was 81.
Kline helped his friends in the entertainment industry on issues ranging from transportation to politics to promotion and never worried about receiving public recognition for his accomplishments.
“If you’ve ever had a friend who did everything in the world for everyone he touched, but not a soul knew about it, that’s Fred,” commented Kline’s wife of 47 years, Verna, a former publicist at NBC.
Born in Oakland, but transplanted to Hollywood while a child, Kline was writing articles about film as well as reviews by the time he was 15. After serving in the Air Force in World War II, he returned to work as a journalist, spending most of his life covering politics in Sacramento.
Kline used these political connections, particularly those in the transportation world, to help friends in Hollywood: He supplied studios with law enforcement equipment such as police lights and often served as a liaison when films wanted to shoot on location and needed a permit.
In the 1950s, Kline helped to promote Marilyn Monroe, accompanying the actress to promotional appearances.
Kline’s lasting legacy to the entertainment industry, however, is a transportation subcommittee he set up that established semiannual meetings among the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation with showbiz professionals to deal with problems studios face in filming outdoors or on roads.
“He was so giving and always willing to help out the motion picture industry,” said Paul Casella, VP of operations at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Besides his wife, he is survived by three children.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Mercy Hospice of Sacramento or the California Highway Patrol Widows and Orphans Fund.