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Bill Anderson, dead at 86

Disney producer and board member

Bill Anderson, one of Walt Disney’s most prolific and trusted film and TV producers and a 24-year veteran of the Disney board of directors, died Dec. 28 in San Francisco. He was 86.

The cause of death was a brain hemorrhage resulting from a fall.

During his 44-year association with the studio, Anderson produced 58 half-hour episodes of “Zorro” as well as such shows for “The Wonderful World of Disney” as “The Swamp Fox,” “The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh,” “Texas John Slaughter” and “Johnny Shiloh.”

Anderson served as associate producer of the feature film “Old Yeller” and went on to produce such other popular Disney motion pictures as “Third Man on the Mountain,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” “The One and Only, Genuine Original Family Band,” “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes,” “The Barefoot Executive,” “The $1,000,000 Duck,” “The Apple Dumpling Gang,” “The Treasure of Matacumbe” and “The Shaggy D.A.”

His feature-film producing credits include “Moon Pilot,” “Savage Sam,” “The Fighting Prince of Donegal” and “The Happiest Millionaire.”

Anderson, who worked for the studio from 1943 up until his retirement in 1975, served on the board of directors for Walt Disney Prods. from 1960-84.

He started with the studio in the production control department, went on to oversee the reorganization and expansion of the ink and paint department, and was subsequently appointed assistant to the studio production manager.

In 1951, he was named production manager for the studio, and five years later he was promoted to the role of vice president in charge of studio operations. Following the death of Walt Disney in 1966, Anderson was selected to be part of a small group of producers who would guide the studio’s motion picture output for the next decade.

A native of Smithfield, Utah, Anderson moved to Los Angeles in 1929 to pursue a career as an actor. Casting calls weren’t steady, though, so he finally landed a job at Firestone Rubber Co. and used his small salary to enroll in pre-law at Compton Junior College and USC.

Anderson, who maintained residences in Newport Beach and Indian Wells, Calif., is survived by his wife, Virginia, two daughters and a granddaughter.

Funeral arrangements will be private. A memorial service will be held in late February.

In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations in his name be made to CalArts in Valencia.

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