Harry Bernsen Jr. dies at 82

9:05 AM PST 06/05/2008 by Associated Press, AP

Chicago native was film, TV, stage producer

Harry Bernsen Jr., a film, television and stage producer and father of actor Corbin Bernsen, has died. He was 82.

Harry Bernsen, who had been in failing health since the beginning of the year, died Saturday at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, spokesman Charles Sherman said Wednesday.

There was no specific cause of death, Sherman said.

Corbin Bernsen remembered his father as "one of the old-school guys."

"He represented a time and era of this entertainment business that really just cared about things, whether it was a client or what a movie was about," Bernsen said. "He so deeply loved the business."

A Chicago native, Harry Bernsen served with the Marines in World War II and then studied acting in Los Angeles. But he decided he would be a better producer than performer and started out by producing local plays, according to a release from Sherman.

Bernsen also took on the role of manager at the Jaffe Agency, working with director Arthur Hiller and actor Jim Hutton, among others.

Bernsen wore "many hats," walking his clients through projects as agent, manager and even publicist, Sherman said.

His credits include the TV miniseries "The Awakening Land" and the films "Fools' Parade" with James Stewart and "Take a Hard Ride" with Jim Brown, Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly, Sherman said. On stage, Bernsen joined in producing "The Boys Of Autumn" starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster.

Corbin Bernsen, whose credits include the TV shows "Psyche" and "L.A. Law" and the film "Major League," recalled the advice he got from his father when he decided to become an actor.

"If I was going to do it, he said, make sure I love it," he recalled.

Harry Bernsen's survivors include his former wife, actress Jeanne Cooper, and their children, Corbin and Collin Bernsen and Caren Bernsen Wilson.

A private memorial service is scheduled for June 28 in Los Angeles.
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