A. Frank Reel, a retired labor leader and TV executive who is also remembered for being a government-appointed defense counsel for Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita in his post WWII war-crimes trial, died April 3 of natural causes at his home in Norfolk, VA. He was 92.
After the war, Reel returned to Massachusetts to work as a labor lawyer until he joined the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA), precursor to AFTRA, in 1947, becoming its national executive secretary one year later.
Beginning in 1954, he worked for ZIV Television, known for syndicated TV series including “The Abbott and Costello Show” and “The Eddie Cantor Show,” until United Artists purchased the company and upped Reel to executive VP.
In 1968, he joined Metromedia Producers Corp., serving as its president from 1970 to 1977. During his tenure, Metromedia distributed several TV series and specials, including “The Merv Griffin Show.”
He and wife Virginia were married 52 years, until her death in 1999.
He is survived by three sons, one daughter, a brother and three grandchildren.