Veteran TV producer Dave Bell, whose credits include “A Killer Among Us” and “Do You Remember Love” died on Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 84.
The Ohio native began his television career as a documentary filmmaker, producing medical, police and social issue films for broadcast and cable networks. His documentary “Missing…Have You Seen This Person?” became the basis for the NBC series “Unsolved Mysteries.” He was considered a reality show pioneer who opened the door for many series today.
“Anyone over 50 who has worked in reality TV, at some point, worked for or with Dave Bell,” said Cynthia Shapiro, former CEO of Dave Bell Associates. “Dave gave hundreds of directors, producers, writers, editors, and production crew the opportunity to prove themselves in the reality TV business and effectively launched their careers.”
Bell’s other reality series credits include “LAPD: Life on the Boat”; “Missing/Reward,” hosted by Stacy Keach; and “Alive and Well,” a two-hour daily magazine series for the then-named “The USA Cable Network.”
He also used his work to explore women’s issues, producing such documentaries as “Gangs: Not My Kids” (a mom dealing with her kids joining a gang) and “Dying for Love” (women with AIDS) for then-Lifetime Network executive Bonnie Hammer. He also executive produced “Innocence on Trial” for Hammer, which explored child abuse.
“Dave was ahead of his time as a social documentarian who walked the talk on women’s issues, equally passionate on and off screen,” said Hammer, now chairman of NBCUniversal Cable. “He was the best kind of mentor, providing the space to learn and grow but always there with support and advice when you needed it.”
In addition to his non-scripted programming, Bell executive produced TV movies and features such as “Do You Remember Love” with Joanne Woodard and Richard Kiley; “The Long Walk Home” with Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg; and “Nadia,” about gymnast Nadia Comaneci.
Bell is an Emmy, Peabody, C.I.N.E Golden Eagle and ACE winner. He also won awards at San Francisco, Houston and New York film festivals.
He is survived by his wife, Alice, four children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.