On August 5, William G. (Bill) Ericson, the former publisher of the South Pasadena Review and The Quarterly Magazine, died peacefully following a courageous 10-year battle with multiple myeloma and other health problems.
Ericson loved the City of South Pasadena and was dedicated to the City’s success as well as the well-being of its residents. He moved to South Pasadena in 1947, when his parents, Tog and Billie Ericson, purchased the Review, and he remained a resident until his recent passing.
He was educated in South Pasadena schools and was a graduate of South Pasadena High. Bill received an associate degree from Pasadena City College, with honors in English. From there, he went on to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was elected to the Honor Society because of his high academic achievement. While at Berkeley, Ericson studied photography, which became his lifelong passion and profession.
Bill had a diverse and interesting career. After graduating from Cal, he established his own photography studio in the Bay Area, where he became a successful and highly sought after advertising photographer. Ericson also founded the William Ericson Agency, where, among other things, he produced commercial jingles and represented composers, arrangers, musicians, vocalists and bands such as Kiss, Donna Summer, Rick Springfield, The Association, The Rubber Band and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Following the death of his father, in 1975, Bill became the publisher of the South Pasadena Review. This was a position that he was well-suited for as he had spent his entire childhood immersed in the operations of the paper. As a young boy, Bill’s parents paid him to proof read the Review and gave him a nickel for every typo he could spot before publication.
In 1985, Ericson created and published The South Pasadena Quarterly Magazine as a joint venture with the City of South Pasadena. In 1991, it became The Quarterly Magazine, a lushly beautiful magazine, which often featured Bill’s photographic artistry.
During this time, Ericson continued to pursue his love of photography and developed a vast client base in the motion picture and advertising industries. As a car enthusiast, he was fond of recounting the story of how he was first hired by a movie studio. It seems that, at the time, Bill owned a vintage Bentley. After arranging a meeting with a producer on a movie lot, he pulled up in front of the studio bungalow and met the producer. When he offered to show his work, the producer said, “You’ve got the job. If you’re driving that car, you’ve got to be good.” That was just the beginning for Bill. He provided photographic art for Dream Works, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Warner Brothers Home Video, 20th Century Fox, Touchstone Pictures, Pyramid Films, Miramax, Hollywood Pictures, ESPN, Warner Brothers Studios, MGM, United Artists, Paramounts, and Sony Studios, to name just a few.
During his career, Bill worked on special projects with Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Segal, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and many others.
His list of advertising clients is like a Who’s Who of American businesses. It includes Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, ARCO, Standard Oil, Shell Oil, Chrysler, Mattel, Sears, Honda, Carnation, Lockheed, Princess Cruise Lines, and many, many more.
What most of us will remember about Bill, however, was his keen intelligence, his wit and his ready smile. He was a good friend to many in South Pasadena, the city he loved so much. He was truly involved with the city and its people. Bill was a longtime member of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and was awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a member of the South Pasadena Reserve Police Force for five years and served as its Public Information Officer. Ericson was a founding member of the Neighborhood Watch and he created a training video for neighborhood watch officers.
Bill was a sponsor of the South Pasadena Little League, the AYSO and the Adult Co-ed Slow Pitch Softball Team.
Ericson believed in helping our kids and lent his time and talent to the South Pasadena High School Alumni Association, the South Pasadena High School Booster Club, the South Pasadena Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Board of Directors of San Gabriel Valley Council of the Girl Scouts of America.
Bill, you were a good friend to South Pasadena and its people. Thank you. You will be sorely missed.
Photo by Lisa Oddone