Bob Schulz planned to celebrate his 90th birthday in style — with a red carpet, live music and big lights. His friends and family say he was aiming for a very Hollywood affair.
“He basically wanted the Academy Awards,” said Kim Everest, who worked alongside Schulz for 30 years as a casting director, among other roles. She says they worked with numerous celebrities including Mel Gibson, Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara.
Schulz died on Oct. 9 at the age of 89. To honour his life, loved ones including Everest are making sure the party goes on Thursday.
“We have everything to make it a big Hollywood gala glamour show for him,” she said.
Schulz received international recognition for his feature films, television dramas, commercials, music videos and public service films. Schulz Productions has directed and produced in over 30 countries and was behind some of the biggest advertising campaigns of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
He immigrated to Canada from Hungary in 1956. Friends and family say he brought his work ethic and his culture with him to Toronto, leaving a huge impact on the city and the industry.
Schulz’s nephew Chris Soos says loyalty, family and fun were some of the most important things to his uncle.
“He didn’t have any kids so he was very much like a second father to me,” Soos said.
“He introduced me to everything in film, in entertainment and I’m a director of photography now.”
Soos says he owes his interest in the industry to being on sets growing up and being in the company of Schulz’s passion. He says his uncle helped not just him, but many others who are now leaders in the industry.
“My story is adjacent to a few hundred other people’s stories who were close to him,” he said.
A ‘force of nature’
Morris Saffer ran an agency of his own and said Schulz was his client for many years. He said some of his most vivid memories from the years they worked together shooting commercials for companies like Eaton’s and Coca Cola were the nights spent editing in the studio.
“You’re looking at what you shot that day, and you’re splicing,” he said, adding that Schulz was serious about working hard.
“We had almost every department store in the States at one time, we would literally fly everywhere shooting in Miami, doing a year’s worth of shoots at one time,” he said.
Saffer said their team figured out how to turn out high quality commercial spots quickly, which wasn’t easy to do at the time.
“That was the great thing about hiring him. You’re getting a force of nature.”
In 1971, an interview with Schulz on CBC’s Telecsope highlighted the director’s success and explored his process behind the scenes.
“I think usually the greater the people are, the more they reach for perfection,” Schulz said in the interview.
“They are dissatisfied with anything less.”
That passion is among the traits loved ones will miss the most. Everest says she knows there will be tears at the birthday celebration Thursday, but also a lot of love and memories shared.
“The only thing missing will be him,” she said.
“Because that’s a wrap.”