Harold “Hal” Loeb, producer of “Soldier Blue” and “Kelly’s Heroes” (both 1970), died Saturday May 17 in L.A. from cancer. He was 84.
Raised in New London, Conn., he graduated from Loomis Chaffee prep school before going on to Harvard, where he played basketball. Shortly after graduation, he was drafted into the Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, earning a Purple Heart.
In civilian life, he was a publicist for Warner Bros. in New York and later a reporter/film reviewer for Independent Film Journal and Motion Picture Daily. By 1950, he became casting director for “Lux Video Theater” and in 1953 began directing the show. As a director, he became identified with ABC’s “Quick as a Flash.”
To become more proficient, he studied acting under Sandy Meisner, Wynn Mandmann and Lee Strasberg and appeared as an actor in various TV shows while also directing summer stock at the Robin Hood Theater in Arden, Del., where he met John Gay, who 15 years later wrote the screenplay for “Soldier Blue.”
Loeb also tried his hand at Off Broadway, culminating with 1968’s “Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights” at the Cherry Lane Theater, directed by Sidney Poitier with Cicely Tyson, Diane Ladd, Louis Gossett and David Steinberg.
Following a four-year association with Peter Witt, he rejoined Warner Bros. in its story-talent department and for the next six years was involved with all Warner Bros. East Coast productions.
Also in New York, he met his future wife, Joyce Myerson, who produced one of Roger Stevens’ plays “Hallelujah Baby.” Then in Los Angeles in partnership with Gabriel Katzka he produced two bigscreen hits, “Kelly’s Heroes” and “Soldier Blue” before retiring in 1970.
The member of Actors’ Equity and AFTRA is survived by three children and two grandchildren.
Donations can be made to the National Foundation for Cancer Research.