One of America’s most successful poster designers began his career at the age of 20, after graduating from an illustration and design course at Pratt Institute. Gold got a job in the poster department in the New York office of Warner Bros, and his first two projects were for the hugely successful 1942 films Yankee Doodle Dandy and Casablanca (both won various Academy Awards).

Casablanca poster Bill Gold

Gold enlisted in the army for WWII, where he created training films for the Air Corps. When the war was over, he rejoined Warner Bros., heading west to the Warner lot in LA. Just a few years later, in 1962, he returned to New York to start Bill Gold Advertising. He defined the genre of movie poster advertising in a career that spanned more than 70 years. Platoon, Deliverance, The Exorcist, A Clockwork Orange, Unforgiven, Bullitt, Bonnie and Clyde, Dog Day Afternoon, The Sting — just a few of the many films he designed for.

Klute poster Bill Gold

The Exorcist poster Bill Gold

A Clockwork Orange poster Bill Gold

Platoon poster Bill Gold

In the late 70s he concentrated more on his work with Clint Eastwood, and by the mid 80s dedicated all his time to the partnership. From Dirty Harry to Mystic River, and coming out of retirement to work on J Edgar in 2011, the result was a five-decade collaboration between the two.

Dirty Harry poster Bill Gold

Unforgiven poster Bill Gold

“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,” Mr Eastwood said in presenting The Hollywood Reporter’s lifetime achievement award to Mr. Gold in 1994. “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.”

Quoted from The New York Times obituary.

Bill Gold self portrait 1972
Bill Gold, self portrait, 1972.

Bill Gold. 1921–2018.

May 21, 2018