Alfred Hitchcock’s associate producer and right hand man for 10 years, William “Herbert” Coleman, died Oct. 3 of natural causes at Faithful Care Home in Salinas, Calif. He was 93.
He began working with Hitchcock as the assistant director on “Rear Window,” but stepped down from that role in “To Catch a Thief” after he was struck with illness as shooting commenced in France.
Credited as second unit director on the film, Coleman became Hitchcock’s right-hand man as the associate producer on such films as “The Trouble With Harry,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” “The Wrong Man,” “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest,” and “Topaz.” He also produced both of Hitchcock’s television series: “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.”
Born in Bluefield, W.Va., Coleman’s first job in the entertainment industry was as a truck driver for Paramount Studios in 1925. He went on to work as an assistant director under John Farrow on “California,” “Calcutta,” and “Copper Canyon,” and under William Wyler on “Roman Holiday.”
Besides his work with Hitchcock, Coleman’s credits during the 1960s include directing two Audie Murphy vehicles, “Battle at Bloody Beach” and “Posse From Hell,” production managing “Nevada Smith” and producing the TV series “Checkmate.”
A long-standing member of the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America and Writers Guild, he wrote, directed and produced independently during the 1970s. When he retired in 1983, he was a producer at Universal. However, he returned to work in the 1990s as a consultant and resource during the restoration of “Vertigo” and “Rear Window.”
His autobiography, “The Hollywood I Knew — 1925-1983,” is slated to be published by Scarecrow Press in 2002.
Coleman is survived by two daughters, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Family suggests memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society, 1184 Monroe St., Suite 1, Salinas, CA 93906.