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April 25, 1925 - January 17, 2014 Joe Naar was one of the last of his kind. An old school producer who grew up in the ghettos of Boyle Heights, became a star running back for L.A. High and postponed his eventually winning football career and B.A. at UCLA to volunteer with a forged parental signature at 17 to fight for the U.S. Navy during WWII, where he would finish 3 tours of "hazardous" duty totaling 36 months of combat operations on P.T. boats in the South Pacific theatre. After the war he was fortunate to be reunited with his football coach from LA high (Red Sanders) who had become head coach for the UCLA Bruins, and who would eventually provide the arena (the Rose Bowl) where he was to run 66 yards against Illinois on a kick-off return in the 1946 Rose bowl in front of, among 100,000 others, actor Peter Lawford, who after the game befriended Joe and whom after graduation became one of his star clients at the William Morris Agency. At WMA he fast tracked through the training program to become a wunderkind agent in the early 1950's alongside many other notable agents such as Abe Lastfogel, Freddy Fields and Lew Wasserman. His creative impulses lead him out of the agency business and into TV production. (But, it should be noted that during his few years at the agency he was responsible at various times for representing the careers of Steve McQueen, Ally McGraw, Racquel Welsh and Marilyn Monroe. Monroe would eventually become a close friend and confidant who in fact called Joe the night of her death. Their friendship was largely a result of his friendship with Peter Lawford (who at the time was married to Patricia Kennedy (Bob Kennedy's sister). Ultimately they would all become friends which opened the door for Joe to enter what was then considered Camelot. A discrete presidentially appointed world which joyously adopted Joe and his wife Dolores and had them jetting around the country, with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and the rest of the Rat Pack). Joe's television career started with producing the Ronald Reagan hosted General Electric Comedy Hour, and several other old classics before producing his first movies which include THE ALL AMERICAN BOY starring Jon Voight, BLACULA and SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM starring William Marshal and Vanetta McGee for AIP productions. Next he went back into TV under Spelling Goldberg Prods. where he produced Starsky and Hutch, the number one rated hit series, for five years in its entirety. He then moved to Blake Edwards Productions where he produced two successful TV series, Strike Force with Robert Culp and Half Nelson with Joe Pesci starring. It was during his time with Blake that he would have lunch with writer Sydney Sheldon and with him go on to co-create the successful HART TO HART TV series starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. Joseph T Naar will be missed for his larger than life, suffer no fools personality. A straight forward, no nonsense style with which he became a football star, a war hero, and hugely successful Hollywood agent turned successful TV producer and creator. He would joke that this style was born out of being a short Jew with a huge chip on his shoulder. Finally and sadly, he will be more missed by his three children, Peter, Sharman and Andrew, as well as his ex-wife turned best friend and life long companion Dolores Nemiro. He is predeceased by his second wife Barbara Rand Naar. Services were held at Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills Tuesday, January 21, 2014.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Feb. 8, 2014
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