Neil R. Gazel, father of Directors Guild of America member Christine Ballard, died of a heart attack June 22 in Chicago. He was 78.
Gazel was a sports writer for the Chicago Daily News 1946-56. His first assignment was to interview Jackie Robinson, who reportedly told the young writer, “If we win, I’ll talk to you.” Despite losing, however, Robinson granted Gazel the interview.
Gazel built the PR department at Beatrice Foods in Chicago, writing and producing award-winning industrial films.
Besides Ballard, Gazel is survived by his daughter Marcia Murton.