Bill Gold, the designer and illustrator behind numerous iconic Hollywood film posters, has died aged 97. He is best known for his artwork promoting Casablanca, The Exorcist, A Clockwork Orange, Deliverance, Alien, Dirty Harry and A Streetcar Named Desire, as well as hundreds more, which in some cases are as renowned as the films themselves.
Gold studied at the Pratt Institute and started out as an art director at Warner Bros. New York, with his second assignment being the now instantly recognisable classic illustrated artwork for Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, released in 1942. He continued to work as a designer after the war, creating posters and ad campaigns for films such as Strangers on a Train and Rebel Without a Cause in the 50s, before setting up his own studio, Bill Gold Advertising in the 1960s. The designer moved with the times, adapting to photographic and digital artworks as illustrated posters became old fashioned.
In the 70s he was behind the iconic posters for A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist, and later Alien.
He worked as a poster artist for over 70 years, predominantly for Warner Bros. studios and Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions. Gold eventually art directed the poster campaigns for over 30 of Eastwood’s films; his last work was in fact for the Eastwood biopic J. Edgar in 2011. Eastwood said when presenting Gold with The Hollywood Reporter lifetime achievement award in 1994: “I don’t know what it is that first causes a person to become interested in a film — whether it’s the cast, or whether it’s the title, or whether it’s that first image. I believe it is a combination of all of these. That’s the creative part of poster work – that image and what it does and how it affects an audience.”
Gold was awarded a lifetime achievement award from Pratt Institute in 2013, and was a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Society of Illustrators and The Art Directors Club.