Producer Herbert B. “Bert” Leonard, who worked on series including “Naked City” and “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin,” died of cancer Oct. 14 in Los Angeles. He was 84.
A memorial service will be held at 10:15 a.m. Friday at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.
Born in New York City, he attended NYU and joined the Navy as a pilot and instructor.
He started his showbiz career as a production manager and unit producer, working on dozens of Westerns and programmers.
While working as a production manager at Columbia in the early 1950s, Leonard met Lee Duncan, the original owner of the Rin Tin Tin silent films, and he set up the series at Corriganville in Simi Valley. Leonard also had a producer credit on the 1990s show “Katts and Dog,” based on “Rin Tin Tin.”
After “Rin Tin Tin,” he produced series “Circus Boy” and “Rescue 8” before working on pioneering police show “Naked City.”
From 1960-64 he was exec producer on “Route 66,” a drama series about two young drifters in a Corvette on an existential odyssey in which they encountered a myriad of loners, dreamers and outcasts along U.S. Highway 66 and beyond.
In a 1987 interview Leonard said, “After we developed the script, the studio wasn’t interested because they felt nobody would sponsor a show about two bums on the road. I put up my own dough (and) contacted Chevrolet to find the car that would be like a character. They came up with the Corvette. We made the pilot and it became a hit. And every year for the run of the show, Chevy dropped off two Corvettes in my driveway for Christmas.”
The atmospheric black-and white show, which filmed on location in 25 states, starred Martin Milner and George Maharis, who was later replaced by Glenn Corbett.
Leonard also directed and produced the feature “Going Home” and produced films including “Popi,” starring Alan Arkin and directed by Arthur Hiller.
He is survived by daughters Gina, a producer, Michelle, Swan, Victoria, Sophie and Annie; and three grandchildren.