Lehman Katz, former UA exec and a founding member of the Screen Director’s Guild — now the Directors Guild of America — and its assistant directors branch, died May 29 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. He was 89.
Indianapolis native attended New York City schools and Columbia U., served during WWII in Frank Capra’s Special Service’s Film Unit and achieved the rank of captain, in charge of motion picture production for the Army Pictorial Service.
After the war, he became a script reader for RKO Pictures and rapidly rose to become an assistant director, associate producer and production manager. His credits include such high-profile films as “Casablanca,” “The Asphalt Jungle,” “Moby Dick,” “Love in the Afternoon,” “Topkapi” and numerous others.
He segued to become executive in charge of European production operations for United Artists, then vice president in charge of worldwide ops for UA, and later senior consultant for the Completion Bond Co.
A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, he served on the executive committee and the foreign film panel. He was also co-founder and VP of Friends of French Art, was awarded a silver medal by the city of Paris and was named an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.
Predeceased by wife Shirley Kroll Katz, he is survived by companion Elin Vanderlip, two sons, two grandchildren, a brother and others.