Produced film, TV, musicals
Film and TV producer Harry Bernsen Jr. died May 31 of natural causes in Woodland Hills, California. He was 82.
Bernsen Jr., the father of actor Corbin Bernsen, was a longtime agent as well as TV, feature film and legit producer who produced projects such as the Italian and French touring musicals based on “Mrs. Doubtfire.”
Born in Chicago, Bernsen started out publishing souvenir programs. After serving in the Marines during WWII, he studied acting and then turned to producing.
Bernsen Jr. produced plays in L.A. and married actress Jeanne Cooper, appears on “The Young and the Restless.” They later divorced.
He began working at the Jaffe Agency, representing clients including director Arthur Hiller, writer James Lee Barrett and actor Jim Hutton.
Moving to Rome, Bernsen started his own agency, involving him with Dino DeLaurentiis and Carlo Ponti.
He stayed with the agency, which eventually became the Gersh Agency, as a VP for several decades. He returned to producing, working on TV programs including miniseries “The Awakening Land,” ABC Afterschool Special “Mighty Moose and the Quarterback Kid” and feature films “Fool’s Parade,” with James Stewart, “Three the Hard Way” and “Take a Hard Ride,” with Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, and Jim Kelly, as well as “Something Big,” with Dean Martin.
Bernsen Jr. then became involved with theater, discovering and producing musical “Beyond the Rainbow” in Italy, bringing an avant garde production of “The Tales of Hoffman,” to Carnegie Hall and producing “The Boys Of Autumn,” starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster, in San Francisco.
More recently, he negotiated an arrangement between 20th Century Fox and Music 2 to produce a musical version of “Mrs. Doubtfire” in Italian. The show toured Italy for more than three years and also played in France under the title “Madame Doubtfire.”
At the time of his death he was working on an American revival of “Beyond the Rainbow.”
He is survived by sons Corbin and Collin, daughter Caren Bernsen Wilson, who manages Pacific Studios; eight grandchildren; longtime companion Dace Broc and a brother.