Monday, October 15, 2001

Obituary: Frederic Ziv, TV pioneer

Hyde Park man, 96, produced classics

By Betsy Stakauskas
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Frederic W. Ziv, one of the most powerful TV producers during the 1950s, died Saturday of natural causes at his Hyde Park home. He was 96.

        Mr. Ziv produced the TV series Highway Patrol, Sea Hunt, Bat Masterson, Boston Blackie and The Cisco Kid. He brought newlyweds Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall to radio. He encouraged a policeman named Gene Roddenberry to write TV scripts.

        But he was known throughout the television industry for pioneering production, sales, promotion andmarketing of TV series. He was featured in articles on TV syndication from Time to The Wall Street Journal to the New York Herald Tribune, which nicknamed him the “Father of Syndication.”

Closer to home, he taught for 22 years at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and served on numerous Greater Cincinnati art boards.

        Mr. Ziv was a native Cincinnatian who graduated from Hughes High School. He then attended the University of Michigan, where he was editor of the school newspaper, worked as a copy writer for advertising agencies, and published an anthology of poetry titled The Valiant Muse while still a student.

        He earned a law degree in 1929 from the University of Michigan. But in his own words, “had no affinity for practice of law,” family members said. During law school, he published a second book, The Business of Writing.

        In 1937, Mr. Ziv began the syndication legacy by selling advertising space on a radio program he produced. Rubel's Rye Bread was one of the first advertisers.

        In 1948, Mr. Ziv began producing TV programs. It was during this post-World War II era that he could see how TVwas going to make its way into the homes of America, said his son, William Ziv of Cincinnati.

        “He was a visionary. He was able to understand and predict the tastes of the American people,” said the younger Mr. Ziv.

        Mr. Ziv wrote many of his own story outlines and cast them instinctively. Lloyd Bridges was cast for Sea Hunt and Broderick Crawford for Highway Patrol.

        Bogart and Ms. Bacall were featured in the 1951 radio series Bold Venture, which Mr. Ziv created and produced.

        Mr. Ziv spent the latter portion of his life lecturing at the College of Mount St. Joseph and for 22 years was distinguished professor at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music.

        Teaching, says his son, was what his father considered his most important endeavor.

        “He was a mentor to those at the developmental stage of their careers. He cared deeply about the people he taught,” Mr. Ziv said.

        In 1988, the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music presented the first Frederic W. Ziv Award, to honor a student who has contributed to television and media. In 1997, Cincinnati native and Time Warner Inc. vice chairman Ted Turner won the Ziv Award.

        Mr. Ziv served on the boards of the Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati Opera, May Festival, Playhouse in the Park, Boy Scouts and the Art Museum.

        Other survivors include his daughter, Frederica Yamin of Montecito, Calif.; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

        Funeral services and burial will be at the convenience of the family.


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