Dallas Film Society Statement on the Passing of Liener Temerlin

Liener Temerlin and H. Ross Perot on Opening Night of the DALLAS International Film Festival at Winspear Opera House


Legendary ad man, national and local arts aficionado, co-founder of the AFI Dallas International Film Festival, and creator of AFI’s famous “100 Best Movies” list, Liener Temerlin died yesterday in Austin, Texas, surrounded by friends and family.

Dallas Film Society Executive Director, Lee Papert, said, “The Dallas Film Society is terribly saddened to learn of the passing of Liener Temerlin, our Founder and Chairman Emeritus. He was instrumental in the creation of the Dallas Film Society and the AFI Dallas International Film Festival. His passion and vision for film knew no bounds. That passion for this unique art form was limitless and he strived daily to bring a greater awareness of film to Dallas through the Film Society and the Dallas International Film Festival and the nation through his involvement with the American Film Institute. But beyond that passion, Liener was kind, genuine, and helpful – serving as a mentor to so many in the formation of a fledgling arts organization. He exuded class and most of all — he was our friend. We will miss our friend and we will continue to do our best to further his desire to celebrate this great medium.”

Temerlin will be forever known for his association with both the American Film Institute and the Dallas International Film Festival. For AFI, he served on the Board of Trustees from 1989-2002; Executive Committee – 1989-1999; Board of Directors – 1989-2000. In 1989 he developed the “100 Years, 100 Movies” concept of AFI celebrating the centennial of the motion picture. His idea and marketing plan set the stage for AFI’s enhanced national profile. The TV series included the “100 Best” concept celebrating the 100th anniversary of American film: The 100 Best Movies, The 100 Best Stars, The 100 Best Laughs, The 100 Best Thrills, etc. His major idea brought distinction and major financial gains to the AFI. When he retired from the Board of Directors in November 2000, the AFI Board made him an Honorary Trustee of the American Film Institute, a first in the AFI Board’s history.

With his leadership and decree that “film should be placed on the same pedestal as all of the other arts,” he co-founded a new film festival with Michael Cain and became the Chairman, and Festival Director of the AFI/Dallas International Film Festival from, 2006 – 2008.  The festival became overnight the largest film festival in the southwest with over 193 films from 25 countries over the course of the 11-day festival, filling 30,030 seats, 75 filmmakers in attendance, and attended by numerous Hollywood stars. Last year, the popular film festival celebrated its 10th Anniversary.

Temerlin began his career as Associate Editor of Sponsor Magazine, an advertising trade journal in New York, from 1950-51. While in New York, he was commissioned to write a radio show for Hester Marshall Productions in their series of “Gold Medal Doctors.” He began his advertising career in 1953 as a copywriter for Glenn Advertising in Dallas. He served as TV director, creative director, and director of new business. In 1970, he was named chief operating officer, then chairman and was in charge of new business. While the name of the agency has changed a number of times, he was with the agency for 50 years.

In 1974 Bozell & Jacobs merged with Glenn Advertising and the office became Glenn, Bozell & Jacobs, with Temerlin serving as President. Temerlin was named Chairman of the Board of Bozell & Jacobs in 1979. Named Chairman when the agency became Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt in 1986, and then Chairman when the agency became Bozell in 1989. As chairman, the agency grew to 86 offices in 52 countries billings over $1.5 billion. In May 1992 the Bozell/Southwest office became Temerlin McClain. Temerlin became Chairman of the new entity. Temerlin McClain became a wholly owned subsidiary of True North Communications when the agency was sold in 1997. True North Communications is a communications holding company with total billings approximately $12 Billion, over 12,000 employees and over 350 offices throughout the world. During his tenure and under his leadership, the Dallas office (his home base) alone became the undisputed largest agency south of the Mason-Dixon line billing in excess of $850 Million with 620 employees.

In December 2001, Mr. Temerlin opened his Temerlin Consulting office with such clients as ExxonMobil, Staubach Company, Perot Companies, Central Market/H.E.B., Nokia and Entrust.  Later added Target, The Richards Group, Current Energy, and BioPhysical250.

In his early years, Temerlin helped bring to Dallas and the Southwest the first large national and international accounts. Under his leadership the agency brought to the Dallas advertising scene such major national accounts as American Airlines, Armour, Bank of America, Bell Helicopter Textron, Bennigan’s, Bohemia (Mexico and U.S.), Carte Blanche, Centex, Cessna, Chili’s, Continental Airlines, Dial Corporation, Entrust, ExxonMobil Corporation, Greyhound Corporation, GTE (Verizon), Halliburton, Hyatt Hotels, Long John Silver, Max Factor, Nationwide Insurance, Nortel Networks, Overhead Door Corporation, Pace Picante Sauce, JCPenney Corporation, Philippine Airlines, Pfizer, Quaker Oats, Sara Lee Apparel, 7-Eleven, Steak and Ale, Subaru of America, Terminex, Tone Soap, Texas Instruments, Trailways Bus Company, Warner Lambert and Zale Corporation. His discipline was creative, concepts, branding and marketing. Knowing that you had to invest in the building of the brand while creating demand turned out to be the foundation of the agency’s expertise. Just to name one: the quintessential example of the retail service-oriented accounts’ demands was American Airlines.

To meet the needs of expanding retail clients like Hyatt and Philippine Airlines, he opened offices around the world: in Europe, Asia and South America. This national attention began to help other agencies in the procurement of talent and corporations from outside Texas and the Southwest. All began to help Dallas become one of the premiere agency centers in the country. During his tenure and under his leadership the agency became not only the largest agency in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, but in the southwest.

Temerlin is survived by his wife, Karla Sue Temerlin; two daughters, Dana Temerlin Krebs and Lisa Temerlin Gottesman; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial for Temerlin will be at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Stern Chapel at Temple Emanu- El in Dallas. Memorials may be made to the Temerlin Advertising Institute at Southern Methodist University, or the Parkinson Voice Project.

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