Former CBS exec Robert Norvet dies at 89

Was VP for West Coast operations

Robert Norvet, former CBS vice president for West Coast operations, died of natural causes on Thursday, April 19, in Tarzana, Calif. He was 89.

Norvet worked briefly for Daily Variety before landing a job in the publicity department at MGM in the early 1950s. In 1960 he moved over to CBS, where he eventually became VP in charge of West Coast operations. He convinced William Paley and the CBS board to lease Republic Studios as a base of operations for the production of CBS content on film and, later, to buy the lot in 1967. Norvet initiated and oversaw the building of new facilities, as well as the retrofitting of existing ones. The Radford lot now has a building that bears his name.

“Gunsmoke,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Mission: Impossible” and “The Wild, Wild West” were among the shows produced at CBS Radford during Norvet’s tenure. He also oversaw production of “Hawaii Five-O” from Radford. Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker set up offices at Radford in 1970, and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Newhart,” “WKRP in Cincinnati,” “St. Elsewhere” were shot there as well during his years supervising the studio.

Norvet supervised and coordinated services and stage space for other producers, including for numerous major motion pictures such as “The Reivers,” “A Man Called Horse” and “Little Big Man.”

He was later transferred to offices at CBS Television City. He took early retirement in 1986 and later worked as a freelance consultant for Grant Tinker Gannett (GTG) until the company shuttered in 1990.

Norvet was born in Forest City, Iowa. He served in the Marine Corps during WWII, receiving the Bronze Star and a field promotion to captain during the Battle of Okinawa.

Norvet was a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences.

He is survived by two sons, John, an editor, and Jeffrey, a camera operator, and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held May 12 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tarzana at 10 a.m.

Donations may be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund designating the Resident Support Fund or to St. Paul’s.

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