The first female television producer in Florida’s history, Irene Yelton Berman, died Jan. 17. She was 85.
After beginning her career as a performer in her teens with her sister, Doris, as “The Yelton Twins,” Berman fought for the right to study television production in her home state, eventually earning a spot in a television class at Lindsay Hopkins School, the only Florida school at the time teaching classes for professions in the television industry.
After time as a freelance producer, Berman was hired as a producer on the “Skipper Chuck Show,” a children’s program on WTVJ Channel 4 in Miami. As the show’s host, Chuck Zink, began to expand into other media, he brought Berman along as a producer on his projects, including parades, beauty pageants, educational programming, game shows, and entertainment specials.
Berman eventually formed her own production company, Video and Film Productions, which worked on productions in the Miami area, including the ABC Movie of the Week “Mercy or Murder.”
She was an activist for Florida entertainment industry organizations including the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association, of which she was a founding member and president, and served the Suncoast chapter of NATAS as president and trustee.
Berman is survived by her husband, Larry; two daughters; and a sister.