August 20, 1927 - August 29, 2013
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Bert Tenzer writer, producer, director, filmmaker, and creative visionary has died at the age of 86.
Bert died on August 29th, 2013 of complications from cancer at home surrounded by his family. He left this world the same way he came in, never giving up, always following his dreams, and displaying the courage and vision he was known for all his life.
The New York Times once wrote "Bert Tenzer's motion picture is 2,000 years ahead of it's time." Perhaps that also applies to Bert himself. Bert was born in Long Beach, New York, he began his career early, in his teens by writing a critically successful column in the city's newspaper called "Frankly Speaking" which was a satirical look at what was going on in the world at the time. Soon after still in his teens he produced a magazine where he wrote all the articles and sold advertising space to local retailers. This provided some revenue and paid for his college.
Acclaimed by Prentice Hall "Birth of a Salesman" was Bert's first recorded production. It dramatized and demonstrated what it takes to motivate and sell.
When Bert's career was interrupted by service in the US Army, Bert went to the head general and suggested a unique way to recruit soldiers via an armed forces radio show he called "Your Soldier in War".
From radio and records Bert moved to television in the early 1960s and he began turning products into 30 minute dramatized TV stories. What followed was a new generation of thirty-minute infomercials.
The end of the sixties was a time of revolution. "I looked at the madness of the decade and decided to get into motion pictures", said Bert. Not a shy individual Bert literally grabbed a guy who owned a 35mm camera and talked him into going around the country to capture what was happening. Bert wrote his first screenplay a story that would represent America as the Roman Empire headed for another fall. Titled "2000 Years Later", the finished movie, which Bert wrote, produced, and directed, was picked up by Warner Brothers. "Tenzer is a film maker who has produced one of the finest, most creative feature pictures I have ever seen", said the film's leading actor Terry Thomas, on "The Johnny Carson show". Judith Crist in her New Yorker magazine review, compared the film to Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" and "Dr. Strangelove" and urged her viewers to see it. Bert went on to write, produce, and direct other films such as "The Day The Music Died", "Free", and the "Summer of 70".
After movies Bert moved into video with the invention of the VCR. He built a franchise of more than 1000 stores across the country called "The Video Connection". He was a pioneer and the first to rent videos far ahead of blockbuster and others who later followed.
Toward the end of his career Bert created several TV news magazine shows highlighting businesses, the latest was called Moving America Forward. He also recently completed a film titled "Changes are coming," which was a combination of scenes from his original film "2000 years later" and new footage shot in 2007. He continued to work, write and create up until the end. Bert truly had a passion for life, his family, and work.
"Doing what you love to do with real passion, courage, and vision", that is how Bert lived his life and shall be remembered.
Bert was a loving father, husband and is survived by his wife Regina and two sons, Scott and Keith.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 1, 2013