North Carolina film commissioner was pioneer

Bill Arnold, North Carolina’s first film commissioner who saw “The Color Purple,” “Dirty Dancing” and other successful movies produced during his tenure, died Sunday in Raleigh of unknown causes. He was 75.

Arnold was appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt in 1980 to head a new office designed to bring movies and television productions to North Carolina. During Arnold’s 26 years, De Laurentiis Entertainment Studios, now EUE/Screen Gems Studios, opened in Wilmington.

Other movies produced in the state during Arnold’s time included “Bull Durham” and “Days of Thunder.” The television series “Dawson’s Creek” and its spinoff, “One Tree Hill,” were also shot in North Carolina.

A funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Raleigh.

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