Hal Geer, retired cartoon executive, dies at 100
Hal Geer, a retired Warner Bros. Cartoons executive and World War II combat cameraman, passed away in Simi Valley, California on Thursday, January 26. He was 100 years old.
Born Harold Eugene Geer on September 13, 1916 in Oronogo, Missouri, Mr. Geer lived through most of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. He married his sweetheart Nancy Walker in 1939 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941, two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. As a combat cameraman in World War II he survived 86 missions flying over China with the Flying Tigers, sometimes doubling as a gunner on B-24 and B-25 planes while shooting images for newsreels. He received his battlefield commission as second lieutenant from the legendary General Claire Chennault, leader of the Flying Tigers.
After the war ended, the entertainment industry beckoned and Hal and Nancy Geer moved to Hollywood where Mr. Geer spent the next four decades working as a film editor, writer, director and producer for Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and independent production companies. He worked on 25 feature films, more than 500 television shows, 400 commercials and 100 short-subject films. Most of his career was spent at Warner Bros. working with his beloved cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and their Looney Tunes cohorts. In 1985 Mr. Geer spearheaded a successful campaign to give Bugs Bunny his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A year later, at age 70, he announced his retirement as vice president and executive producer of Warner Bros. Cartoons.
Six years prior to his retirement , Mr. Geer's wife Nancy had passed away in 1980. He later met and in 1983 married Carol Jones, who also worked at Warner Bros. They spent the first dozen years of their retirement seeing the world from cruise ships where Mr. Geer was on the lecture circuit.
At the age of 99, Mr. Geer wrote and published his memoirs in a book entitled The Life, Times and Tales of Hal Geer. He presented personalized copies of his book to each of the more than 60 guests who attended his 100th birthday celebration held on September 11, 2016. In his memoirs he wrote:
I don't know what the purpose of life is. We try to do the best we can while we exist. My purpose was to make the world a better place. I know I made some people happy. I want to be remembered for the things I've done: combat photographer, newsreels and historical films. I hope I also entertained people and brought some laughter into their lives.
Hal Geer is survived by his wife Carol, daughter Nancy Matthews, son Wally Geer and stepdaughter Brenda Lee Jones, grandchildren Christo Kuzmich and Jamie Jones, and great- grandchildren Matthew Jones, Savannah Jones, Whitney Kuzmich and Sylvia Kuzmich, who will all remember him for making them happy and bringing laughter into their lives.
The memorial service will be Saturday, February 11, at 10:00 am at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park, 5600 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village, California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Simi-Conejo Valley Chapter of the Military Association of America, P.O. Box 940482, Simi Valley, CA 93094-0482.
GEER, Hal (Harold Eugene Geer)
Born: 9/13/1916, Oronogo, Missouri, U.S.A.
Died: 1/26/2017, Simi Valley, California, U.S.A.
Hal Geer’s westerns – film editor:
Fistic Mystic – 1969
Injun Trouble - 1969