Exec sold films from 'Francis' to 'Jaws' to 'ET'

Longtime Universal Pictures distribution exec Phil Sherman died Feb. 9 in Arizona of natural causes. He was 78.

Memorial services are set for 11 a.m. March 3 at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, 1760 N. Gower.

Sherman began his career with Universal and remained with the company for 40 years, retiring in 1990 as VP and division manager of motion picture distribution. He started in 1950 as a contract clerk in New York and, as his career progressed, he lived in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles. Sherman sold every Universal picture from “Francis the Talking Mule” to “Jaws” to “ET” to “Field of Dreams.”

In addition, he helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through his charity efforts with the Will Rogers Institute and the Variety Boys and Girls Club of New York. He was also a longtime member of the Shriners.

 Sherman was born in New Haven, Conn., served in Marine Corps and later attended the U. of Conn.

 He is survived by his wife, Mary; two sons; a sister; and two grandchildren.

 Donations can be made to Variety the Children’s Charity, the Boys and Girls Club of Queens or the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.

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